Photo Credit: Jewish Press
Delta Airlines plane at Ben Gurion International Airport.

Four Delta Airlines flight attendants from New York are suing the airline in Brooklyn federal court for discrimination against Jewish passengers and employees on the New York – Israel route, according to a statement by attorney Brian R. Mildenberg, representing all four plaintiffs.

The flight attendants, all long-standing employees with experience ranging from 10 to 40 years in the industry. Two are ethnically Jewish/Hebrew/Israeli and are described as having been “disciplined or subjected to a hostile work environment” for associating with other Jews.”


The lawsuit first reported by TMZ accuses Delta of “a pattern of intentionally discriminating and retaliating against ethnically Jewish, Hebrew and/or Israeli employees and passengers,” specifically on the JFK airport (New York City) – Ben Gurion International airport (Tel Aviv) route.

The lawsuit also alleges that management “operates under an assumption” that Jewish and Israeli workers and passengers “cannot be trusted, are aggressive and inappropriate, and engage in what are deemed to be ‘strange’ behaviors by conducting prayers on the flight and requiring special dietary accommodations (kosher meals).”

In addition, the lawsuit alleges that Delta engages in “targeted enforcement actions” against flight attendants who share companion travel passes with Jewish travelers bound for Tel Aviv. At least one of the flight attendants is not Jewish.

Among the allegations:

– Cynthia Fukelman, a Jewish flight attendant was fired by the airline in March 2017 after 21 years of service, allegedly because she “missed” a flight, when she was granted FMLA leave for a medical emergency.

– Tsipora Kuba cites discrimination on the basis of being Israeli after she was turned down three times for the airline’s purser program despite her “qualifications, seniority and experience” despite prior managerial experience, ability to speak four languages and service in the IDF. Kuba has witnessed the summary dismissal of seven flight attendants who were Jewish and/or Israeli.

– A Gentile female flight attendant was suspended without pay, investigated and demoted, with her travel benefits revoked for sharing her Delta “Travel Companion” pass for a Tel Aviv flight, allegedly because she “didn’t know” the man, a friend she said she knew for 40 years. In Delta’s defense, the airline claimed Young Sook Sanchez “was unable to demonstrate basic knowledge” of her travel companion, the court document said.

The lawsuit demands punitive damages, reinstatement for the dismissed flight attendant and reinstatement of the travel privileges for the flight attendant whose pass and privileges were yanked.

A spokesperson for Delta said the airline condemns the allegations and will mount a defense in response. The company’s emailed statement said: “As a global airline that brings people across the world together every day, Delta values diversity in all aspects of its business and has zero tolerance for discrimination.”

It’s worth noting — as Newsweek pointed out — that Delta Airlines was criticized in 2011 after sealing a “Sky Team” partnership deal with Saudi Arabian Airlines (today ‘Saudia’) which bars Jewish passengers, or those who even have Jewish-sounding last names, and any passport with an Israeli stamp, from boarding its flights.

But that was six years ago. Since then, Delta doesn’t bother with the politically-correct trappings of avoiding a country where Jews are forbidden to enter. One can do a quick Google search and come up with numerous Delta flights to Saudi Arabia. In fact, “Travelocity is proud to offer great deals on Delta Air Lines flights to many popular Saudi Arabia destinations.”

“Travelocity is proud to offer Delta flights to Saudi Arabia.”

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.