An Orthodox Jewish couple who were removed from an American Airlines flight over their body odor last year are now suing for discrimination.
Yehuda Yosef Adler and his wife Jennie are seeking unspecified damages in the suit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of
The suit names American Airlines as the defendants.
The couple and their at-the-time 19-month-old daughter had been attempting to fly back home to Detroit from a vacation in Miami last January when the incident took place.
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Yehuda Yosef Adler and his wife Jennie are seeking unspecified damages in relation to the suit they filed against American Airlines
The couple and their at-the-time 19-month-old daughter had been attempting to fly back home to Detroit from a vacation in Miami last January when the incident took place (stock)
Taking their seats, the couple claim that they had not been seated for more than five minutes when they were instructed by a gate agent who told the family that there was an ’emergency’ and they needed to ‘deplane.’
The agent reportedly told the family that they needed to deplane because they had ‘extremely offensive body odor,’ but would only tell the Adlers that the direction came from the pilot.
Offended by the sentiment, the Adlers expressed shock and informed the agent that they had never been informed about problems with their odor – adding that they had showered that very morning.
They claim that a pilot instructed a gate agent to have them exit the plane because of their ‘extremely offensive body odor’
It was then that the gate agent ‘made disparaging and derogatory statements telling the Adlers that he knew that Orthodox Jews bathe once a week,’ the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit adds that the family embarrassingly approached people in the boarding area and asked them to confirm whether or not they had a bad smell. More than 20 people answered in the negative, according to the suit.
In addition to being kicked off the aircraft, the family asserts that their luggage stayed on the plane and went to their destination. The family was without clothing and most of the things needed for the baby.
‘The delay deprived the Adlers of their contractual right to fly based on their purchased ticket with American Airlines,’ the lawsuit reads.
‘The Adlers were seriously inconvenienced, treated as criminals, humiliated, insulted, defamed, missed appointments, incurred incidental expenses, and suffered trauma and emotional distress.’
The family also takes issue with the airline’s continuation of the narrative that they smelled. They claim that now when ‘body odor’ is searched online, results show the Adler name.
The couple say that the defendants discriminated against them as Orthodox Jews, identifying their clothing with their religion and race.
At the time of the incident, American Airlines confirmed that Adler and his family were removed from the flight after ‘several passengers’ complained about their body odor
‘The Adlers suffered and will continue in the future to suffer trauma, stigmatization , severe mental and emotional distress, depression, despair , repugnance, embarrassment, public humiliation, damage to personal reputation, anxiety, fear and apprehension associated with airports and flying, loss of appetite, insomnia and migraines,’ the suit reads.
‘The Adlers are being pressured to see their race and religion as inferior to that of Whites, dirty and unwelcome.’
American Airlines deny the claims, and said the family were removed from the plane after several complaints.
In a statement to
‘The decision was made out of concern for the comfort of our other passengers. Our team members took care of the family and provided hotel accommodations and meals, and rebooked them on a flight to Detroit the next morning.
‘None of the decisions made by our team in handling this sensitive situation were based on the Adlers’ religion.’