Two deaf passengers allege discrimination by Delta agent in viral post

Two passengers who are deaf allege that a Delta gate agent discriminated against them by refusing to continue communicating with them in writing regarding their seating arrangements on a flight.

Melissa Yingst and Socorro Garcia wrote in a viral post on Facebook about an encounter with a Delta agent at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport when the two requested to sit next each other on the flight to Los Angeles on Sunday.


Garcia's and Yingst’s tickets were booked separately and in different sections, one for coach and another basic economy, Delta airlines told NBC News.

The two were told by an agent at the airport that they would be able to sit next to each on the flight, according to the post on Yingst’s Facebook. Delta told NBC that the airline cannot guarantee that flights can accommodate such requests.

Delta told NBC that the gate agent at first tried to communicate with the two though messages on one of their phones.

Garcia claims in the post that the agent "kept talking to us without writing anything down," and that they were told they would not be able to sit together.

“The gate agent rolled her eyes at us,” Garcia said. “Melissa asked for her to write. After few moments, she finally wrote on a piece of paper and said the flight is full and can't book us together."

Garcia said she then attempted to write a reply, but the gate agent allegedly took the paper and threw it away. 

“Melissa was stunned and took out her iPhone to take a video of her,” she said. “I was shocked and asked for a paper and pen to communicate. She still refused and called the police on us.”

Garcia said in the Facebook post that the police accused them of assaulting the gate agent.

Delta told NBC that the agent threw away the paper believing the conversation had ended, and added that it is contact with Garcia and Yingst about the incident.

Delta also told NBC News that the two were given a full refund.

"We take situations like these very seriously and as part of our culture of continuous improvement, we are using this as an opportunity to learn," Delta told NBC News.

The airline did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.