A Frontier passenger says that the angry racist diatribe unleashed on her by an intoxicated seat mate led to her hospitalization and a subsequent nervous breakdown.
Shemekia Cannon did not have an especially pleasant Frontier Airlines flight from St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL) to Denver International Airport (DEN) on June 10 of this year. According to the 38-year-old, she was denied permission to relocate to a seat away from the visibly intoxicated passenger next to her and was instead forced to endure sexually suggestive and racist comments as flight attendants continued to serve the man alcoholic beverages.
“When he described his penis size, I couldn’t take it no more,” Cannon recounted to the St. Louis Riverfront Times. ”I told them what he’d said. I went from zero to a million. I looked at him and I said, ‘You’re a racist son of a …’ I stood up and flagged for every flight attendant.”
She also began filming the unidentified passenger’s outrageous behavior. In footage of the midair racist conniption, Cannon’s harasser can be heard repeatedly shouting, “I’m pulling my white card! I’m pulling my … white card! I just pulled my white card!”
When the out-of-control and allegedly intoxicated passenger learned that his “white card” would not earn him special privileges, eyewitnesses say he then turned his rage in the direction of crew members. Police met the plane when it landed at DEN and the belligerent passenger was eventually removed from the aircraft on a stretcher after officers reportedly had to use force to subdue him.
Cannon, who was recovering from a recent surgery at the time of the inflight fiasco, reports that she was forced to return to the hospital after her ordeal and later missed several weeks of work as a result of medical complications stemming from the traumatic experience. Frontier sent a letter apologizing for the incident and offering a $250 voucher. The airline, however, insisted that crew members’ actions were entirely “appropriate for the situation.”
Cannon says that more troubling than the airline’s refusal to accept any responsibility for the behavior of an over-served passenger, is the fact that it isn’t at all clear if the passenger in question was even called to account for his own actions. Local authorities insist that the matter is in the hands of federal investigators and FBI officials were unable to confirm to the RFT’s Danny Wicentowski that the detained passenger was ever criminally charged as a result of the racially charged tantrum on the flight.
“He does have this invisible white card,” Cannon told the newspaper. ”They’re protecting this man to the point where we don’t even know his name. He’s alive, living his life, thinking this is all over. That’s how I know that card exists.”