Delta Changes Policy After #WhatADoctorLooksLike Fiasco Involving Young Black Doc
Many were outraged when a Delta Airlines attendant refused to allow a doctor on board a flight help an ailing passenger because the attendant didn’t believe that the young Black woman as a real doctor. Physician Tamika Cross didn’t take the slight sitting down. “The story, shared via Facebook, triggered thousands of comments, and an outpouring of stories from minorities and women who had faced skepticism from people who didn’t think they looked like doctors,” reported The Washington Post. And it prompted the viral hashtag #WhatADoctorLooksLike.
Delta claimed Dr. Cross failed to show her credentials and that was why her help was rejected. Normally, doctors tend not to walk around with their medical license and Cross felt there was more underlying the incident. She was invited by Delta to the airline’s headquarters to meet with executives. She brought her mentor, Wayne Riley, past president of the American College of Physicians with her. Riley, who is an African-American male, informed Delta executives at the meeting that he had assisted with ailing airline passengers on various Delta flights over the years and had not once been asked to show his credentials.
The incident has led Delta to change their policy. Starting Dec. 1, the airline announced it has stopped requiring medical professionals to show their credentials before assisting passengers. “When situations like the one described by Dr. Cross arise, we have a responsibility to our employees and our customers to review the circumstances and our policies for opportunities to listen, learn and improve,” said Allison Ausband, senior vice president for In-Flight Service in a statement.
Additionally, Delta says it will expand its diversity and inclusion training to “frontline employees,” including flight attendants.