A Black woman from Jamaica, living overseas, has claimed she experienced a racist incident aboard German airline Condor.
Sharon Roch, a citizen of Switzerland, who was visiting the island for her grandmother's funeral, told the Jamaica Observer that it was the first time she had experienced such a serious act of "racism" at the hands of an airline employee.
Roch said she boarded a flight at Jamaica's Sangster International Airport Wednesday en route to Germany, where she was to catch her second flight to her home in Geneva.
After boarding the plane and finding her seat which was by the window. Roch said, "I sat down in my seat where there was a group of five white ladies traveling together. One of them was about to sit beside me but then refused, remarking that she does not want "to sit with this black woman and that she would never sit with this black woman."
Roch further claimed the woman, who was speaking German, instructed the flight attendants to call the pilot. After the Caucasian pilot was summoned, he instructed Roch to get off the flight.
"They are telling me to get off and I refused because I paid for my flight and know where I am going. I am a Jamaican, why are they in my land? I have my rights here too," she added.
Paul Stanton, Superintendent in charge of the Sangster International Airport Police, when contacted by the Sunday Observer relayed a counter-narrative that the airplane was dealing with an unruly passenger.
"We were told that she was not behaving properly and that is a common call we get almost every day. Unruly [can] mean that they are cursing and/or not abiding by the instruction of the flight crew and, under the Civil Aviation Act, they have the power to ask us to remove passengers from flights," Stanton said, according to the Jamaica Observer.
Upon inquiry, Roch said that the Condor Airlines Germany office had no information of the foul play that the airline had taken a passenger off the plane.
"In Germany, my aunty went to Condor and they said they didn't hear of somebody being taken off the flight," Roch said. She visited the Kingston head office of InterCaribbean Airways Thursday, where she spoke with two representatives from Condor Airlines who said they knew nothing of the incident and encouraged her to explore her legal options.
"They called in Montego Bay, they didn't have a report. So they [said that they] don't know where to go from there," she said, the Jamaica Observer reported.
On Friday, when she returned to the office, her report was faxed to Germany and she spoke with her consulate in Switzerland explaining her dilemma. "I spoke with a representative and he instructed me to get out of here now," Roch said.
The airline wasn't able to find her a spot on the airline which travels to Germany Wednesdays and Saturdays.