Posted For: Willie Wonka
A beloved New York City educator says she was banned from an American Airlines flight after she spoke up about a four-hour delay — all because a staffer took issue with her “tone.”
Kyleema Norman, a deputy superintendent at the Department of Education, was meant to travel to Granada on Sunday. But the trip — a college graduation present for her daughter Bobbie — was derailed when the two got stuck at LaGuardia Airport waiting for their connecting flight through Miami.
Norman told The Post she voiced her frustrations to airline staffers “in my teacher voice” — but that one deemed her a threat and enlisted the Port Authority police.
“We’re not trying to start a riot,” she said of the exchange. “I didn’t curse him, threaten him, show bodily harm or make a scene.”
Still, she recalled being told, “‘Your tone at 35,000 feet — I don’t think I’d be able to trust you’d be safe in the air with a pilot and other people.’”
Norman also posted a 45-second clip of the interaction to Twitter, which as of Tuesday afternoon had racked up hundreds of views. An onlooker started filming when police got involved.
Norman, who is black, attributed the incident to a case of racism, noting all the other passengers were allowed to board other than her and her daughter.
“Who knew the gift would be her watching me getting banned from our flight on American Airlines and witnessing the outrage of racism,” she wrote on social media referring to her daughter and the ruined grad present.
Norman’s daughter Bobbie backed up her mom’s account, adding that she stood up for others at the gate who were also looking for more information about their flight.
“She advocated for everyone, but she is not allowed to get on the plane because the person who pretended to help didn’t like her ‘tone,’” Bobbie said.
The video sparked outrage on social media, with several local educators rushing to their colleague’s defense.
“I can’t believe this, but logically I know this happened and why,” a DOE staffer posted on Twitter.
“I am so upset for you,” chimed in a teacher development coach. “I have no words.”
The Passenger Refunds Department referred Norman to her travel agency to get the money back, while the agency sent her back to the airline, according to emails obtained by The Post.
Days later, American Airlines returned her bags and issued a $125 trip credit, just a fraction of the $2,145 it cost her for two round trip tickets to Grenada, including taxes and fees. Her complaint remains in limbo, while she and her family are grounded in New York City.
The airline said the delay was caused by an unspecified maintenance issue and that it is working to start the refund process.
“We take all claims of discrimination seriously and have opened an internal investigation into the issue. Our Customer Relations team is actively engaged with Ms. Norman to learn more and to apologize for her family’s recent travel experience,” an American Airlines spokesperson said in a statement.