Wednesday, June 14, 2006


sent to

Dear Sirs,

I happened upon a situation where a customer of yours was treated unfairly and rudely.

The flight was #218 on Sunday, June 11, 2006.
The employee who was unreasonable and mean was Michael Coe.
The customer was Gilbert Tuhabonye, a very dark-skinned African heritage man.

Gilbert came in at 3:01 pm for a 4pm flight (#218). He was told by Coe "You're not going anywhere."

I have written in detail about the incident here at Listening For Change and at the New York Culture Kitchen blogsite I feel as does Mr Tuhabonye, that his appearance alone, provoked mistreatment.

Soon after 3:01 pm, Michael Coe made Gilbert wait while he deleted his reservation, he sold the same seat to another passenger. Additionally, he called security and ignored Mr. Tuhabonye's reasonable request for discussing the matter and gleaning any information about why he was being bumped off the flight and said, "Next! Next please!" (slamming his hand on the counter and ignoring Mr Tuhabonye.)

Other Frontier employees, including Dixie, informed us of his name and rolled their eyes about how Mr Tuhabonye had been treated later in the evening when I accompanied Mr Tuhabonye to the Frontier Baggage check area.

Many thanks to the security officer Sherri Owens (86921m 1331 Cherokee, DIA, Denver, CO) who (after seeing Gilbert Tuhabonye's published book on surviving genocide in Africa) helped him at Frontier's customer service by changing his standby status to a guaranteed seat on the 8pm flight to Austin.

Why is it that a dark-skinned African-heritage man would have to prove his "celebrity" status in order to get human assistance at the Denver airport?

Soon after this incident, a white man was assisted and rushed to his Frontier flight within 30 minutes of its departure. We have documented both incidences. Our complaint is a) the rudeness and unhelpfulness of Frontier staff b) the undertone of racial discrimination

I will forward this to the airport administration as well.

I am writing to ask that you apologize to Mr Tuhabonye, fire or reprimand Michael Coe, and give Tuhabonye a complimentary flight the next time he needs to go somewhere.

Additionally, a human-sensitivity or cultural acceptance seminar is in order for your staff members.

Thanks for all you do.

Sincerely Yours,

Sea Ganschow, Director
Listening For Change
Portland, OR

I'll be happy to publish your replies and modes of restitution in the public weblogs where I've published our complaints. Just reply here.


Blogger Sea's Blog said...

Gilbert sent me a correction.

The flight was supposed to be at 3pm and he arrived at 2:01pm

7:43 PM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a couple of years later I suppose. But on a recent trip which involved the same airport and airline I encountered a similar situation too. The person at the gate refused to look at my standby ticket which I don't understand how it was Standby since I bought it weeks ahead of time. A steward on the airplane was unwilling to serve me properly and threw items at my table and was also unwilling to provide me service that came with my ticket. In addition my bags were delayed and when I later complained about it at a different terminal the baggage personnel got up and shouted get out of the room when I had barely been there for a minute and just began my complaint. It was an absolutely horrendous experience!

1:15 PM PDT  

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