(NEW YORK POST) – A Jewish couple from Michigan is suing American Airlines for discrimination after being booted off a flight last year — claiming the crew raised a stink about their alleged body odor, according to a report.
Yehuda Yosef Adler, Jennie Adler and their 19-month-old daughter were kicked off the Jan. 23, 2019, flight from Miami to Detroit by a gate agent who said he knew Orthodox Jews only bathed once a week, according to the lawsuit, the Detroit Free Press reported.
The lawsuit — filed Tuesday in Texas federal court — cites defamation, emotional distress and discrimination relating to religion.
Adler claims he asked a flight attendant for headphones, saying the cabin crew on the last plane he was on told him he could ask for them, according to the suit.
The pilot, who was nearby, snapped, “I wasn’t on that plane and we don’t offer anything complimentary,” the lawsuit says.
A few minutes later, according to the filing, a gate agent informed the family that there was an emergency and asked them to get off the plane — and they were later told it was due to BO and at the pilot’s orders.
The couple insist they had showered that morning.
“Plaintiffs were distraught and even though embarrassing, approached persons in the same area of the boarding gate asking them if they could detect unpleasant body odor from any of the Adler family and each and every person (more than 20 people) answered in the negative,” the lawsuit says.
Adler wore a yarmulke and his wife wore a shaytel — a wig worn by some married Orthodox Jewish women — and long skirt, making them unequal in the eyes of the airline, according to the suit.
And despite being told their luggage would be unloaded, the couple claims the flight took off with their child’s car seat, stroller, diapers and their other belongings.
The couple said they suffered emotional distress, damage to personal and professional reputations, loss of appetite, insomnia, and fear associated with airports and flying, according to the filing.
“The Adlers are being pressured to see their race and religion as inferior to that of Whites, dirty and unwelcome,” the lawsuit says.
The Adlers, who live in Southfield, are seeking punitive damages in the case, with a scheduling conference set for May 29.
In a statement to the news outlet, the Texas-based airline reiterated its claim that several passengers and crew members had complained of a body odor.
“Our team members took care of the family and provided hotel accommodations and meals, and rebooked them on a flight to Detroit the next morning,” the airline said.
“None of the decisions made by our team in handling this sensitive situation were based on the Adler’s [sic] religion,” it added.