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Airlines

Satan Is Not Welcome on American Airlines

Satan Is Not Welcome on American Airlines
Taylor Rains

American Airlines has apologized to a passenger after she was told to change out of her “Hail Satan” t-shirt or leave the aircraft.

“Hail Satan” T-Shirt

On October 30th, passenger Runi Goyal was seated on an American Airlines flight when she was asked by the cabin crew to change out of her “offensive” shirt or be kicked off. The shirt said “Hail Satan,” and before you ask, no, Goyal is not a satanic worshipper, but rather a member of the Satanic Temple.

The Satanic Temple, a non-theistic organization, is an officially recognized church that is well-known for its beliefs on the separation of church and state and religious freedom.

Flight Crew Response

Goyal bought the shirt to support the church and has worn it on many other flights without any issues. Many people find it funny because they understand the meaning behind it. However, this particular flight crew obviously missed the reference. Goyal explained her encounter with the flight attendant: “He said, ‘Our crew has found your shirt to be offensive. We initially just thought it was a joke.’ But he repeated the directive, and there was another female crew member who was behind him with her arms crossed, looking very angry. The man continued, ‘Your shirt is offensive. Do you know what that means?’ I said, ‘I’m a foreign-born minority woman, I understand ‘offensive,’ and this shirt is not offensive.’”

Goyal and her husband refused to exit the aircraft, but the cabin crew did not hold back, even delaying the flight over the matter. Eventually, Goyal’s husband gave her a layer to put over the shirt, and the couple was allowed to remain on the plane.

American Airlines Response

Goyal complained to the airline about her experience on the flight and was told her case would be investigated. She took to Twitter this weekend after not hearing back from the airline, voicing concern over the airline’s broad and vague dress code policy. The policy currently states “offensive” clothing is not allowed but does give specific examples. Goyal believes this policy gives the airline room to discriminate against people of certain faiths. She said, “I think the group that could be most targeted by this are Muslim people, for obvious reasons. I’m an atheist, but I support people’s rights to practice what they believe peacefully.”

After taking to Twitter, Goyal received an apology from American, and her tickets were refunded. The airline said, “We apologize to Ms. Goyal for her experience, and we are reaching out to her to understand what occurred.”

View Comments (4)

4 Comments

  1. FlyingNone

    December 11, 2019 at 12:18 pm

    In defense of ALL airline employees, doesn’t an apology and refunding her tickets make it look like AA employees are idiots and their management certainly doesn’t support a completely logical decision by any one of them ?

    Gotta love it when passengers are “allowed” to call all the shots and decide what is good/ bad/ right/ wrong. It’s not a joke, nor is it funny to think Satan worship is humorous. It’s obvious they (she and her husband) gave the crew a hard time until the lightbulb went off and the husband decided to give her another piece of clothing to cover it up. Just do it (quietly) in the first place instead of disrupting an entire airplane of passengers who you think should find the humor in it or see things your selfish way or tolerate offensive behavior.

  2. Rbt001

    December 11, 2019 at 3:25 pm

    No, FlyingNone, it doesn’t make the AA employees look like idiots. It, however, demonstrates how AA employees are sometimes not in sync with AA management philosophy and thinking.

    As for allowing passengers to call all of the shots, it seems like at flight time it was the FA’s who won and got to “call the shots,” even though it was a bad call.

    This all appears to be a case of “ignorance” on the part of the FA’s, as the article explains the meaning behind the shirt.
    FlyingNone, were you one of the three FA’s? Your tone suggests it.

  3. johnwb

    December 12, 2019 at 9:41 am

    Wearing a Hail Satan tee shirt should be just as offensive as wearing a Jesus Loves Me shirt. No more no less. Freedom of religion means freedom to worship any deity or none.

    Of course that’s exactly the point the wearer was trying to make. The response from the cabin crew (and the first commentator here) show why this point still needs to be made.

  4. mvoight

    January 7, 2020 at 2:29 pm

    johnwb – I agree, and that was the whole purpose of the shirt in the first place. She doesn’t worship Satan, the shirt is a comeback to those who wear religious shirts. Would it be legal to deny someone with a shirt that said “Allahu Akbar”, but not one that said “God is most great”? Of course not. The airline cannot decide one deity or religion or language is more suitable on a shirt than another.

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