American Airlines passenger forced to remove 'Hail Satan' T-shirt before flight

Helen Coffey
Passenger's T-shirt deemed 'offensive': The Satanic Temple
Passenger's T-shirt deemed 'offensive': The Satanic Temple

American Airlines threatened to kick a woman off a flight because she was wearing an “offensive” T-shirt.

Swati Runi Goyal, 49, was travelling from Florida to Las Vegas on 30 October when her “Hail Satan” T-shirt attracted the attention of cabin crew.

She claims two flight attendants became “very angry” and demanded she get changed before the flight could depart.

“It’s an ironic shirt,” Goyal told BuzzFeed News. “People usually laugh at it, or they give me a thumbs up because they understand the meaning behind it.”

Goyal said she is not a satan worshipper, but belongs to the Satanic Temple, a non-theistic and non-satan-worshipping religious organisation.

She said a male crew member called the T-shirt “offensive”.

“We initially just thought it was a joke,” said Goyal. “But he repeated the directive, and there was another female crew member who was behind him with her arms crossed looking very angry.”

The flight was delayed and a customer service agent brought onboard to reiterate that Goyal had to change before the plane could depart.

Goyal eventually borrowed an extra layer from her husband to cover up the T-shirt.

She said she was “humiliated” by the experience, but was gratified to find that other passengers were on her side, telling her they found the T-shirt funny.

“I’m just an ordinary-looking person,” she said, adding that she “couldn’t look like more of a nerd.”

American Airlines’ dress code is listed vaguely as: “Dress appropriately; bare feet or offensive clothing aren’t allowed.”

When Goyal initially complained about her treatment, she claimed to receive a response saying the airline has “policies in place to ensure that no passengers are subjected to objectionable situations while on board.”

However, when she tweeted about the incident, an AA representative replied: “Discrimination has no place at American Airlines.”

An airline spokesperson told The Independent: “We apologise to Ms Goyal for her experience, and we are reaching out to her to understand what occurred.”

AA’s dress policy has hit headlines in the past.

In July, a mother travelling with her son was left humiliated after American Airlines cabin crew forced her to cover up her outfit with a blanket before they would let her onboard.

Latisha Rowe, a doctor from Houston,Texas, was wearing a strapless playsuit for the flight from Kingston, Jamaica, to Miami.

She said she was almost at her seat when a flight attendant asked her to come to the front of the plane with no explanation.

Dr Rowe was then directed onto the gangway and asked if she had a jacket she could wear as crew had deemed her outfit “inappropriate”.

An AA spokesperson said: “We were concerned about Dr Rowe’s comments, and reached out to her and our team at the Kingston airport to gather more information about what occurred.

“We want to personally apologise to Dr Rowe and her son for their experience, and have fully refunded their travel.

“We are proud to serve customers of all backgrounds and are committed to providing a positive, safe travel experience for everyone who flies with us.”

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