Clay Travis, a Fox Sports contributor and man who has tried to build his latest persona around the phrase “Don’t be a pussy,” spent over 2,800 words complaining on his blog because an airline wouldn’t let his son, who had lice, fly on the plane.
Travis explains what happened on a Delta plane in a post that promises all the empathy and value of a negative Yelp review. (Just last week, Delta was involved in a separate spat with right-wing washout Ann Coulter over $30. There is something almost democratic in the airlines’ ability to treat everyone, even the worst among us, equally like shit.) Travis, his wife, and his three children flew on an international flight from Paris to Nashville, with a layover at Minneapolis. During the first leg of the trip, Travis and the Delta flight attendants discovered that his 6-year-old son had lice in his hair. Once they landed in MSP, a Delta flight attendant “who looked a bit like Nurse Ratched” told the Travis clan they would not be making it to their final destination with lice in their kid’s hair. This is how Travis reacted:
“We are not staying in Minneapolis,” I said. (At this point I also started thinking, I don’t want to turn into that Asian doctor and get dragged off an airplane by security. Especially since I defended the airline in that case with this article. I get that airline personnel have difficult jobs. But I did tell Nurse Ratched that I was a lawyer and hadn’t been able to find any policy about lice online, that we were traveling back from Europe and just wanted to get home and only had a short flight.) She was not helpful.
Ah, yes. Clay Travis is a lawyer. Who could forget? In the end, Delta gave him a hotel voucher; his kid was treated for lice; and Travis went home on Southwest with one of his other sons.
In his screed, he referenced his article about goons on a United flight who used force to drag off David Dao, a passenger who didn’t want to give up his seat to an employee, in April. Here’s a portion of what Travis wrote at the time:
That’s why I find this doctor to be the true villain in this story. He doesn’t own his seat, he doesn’t have a legal right to dispute his eviction, airlines have the right to kick people off their planes and refund their money when they decide to do so at their discretion. You agree to that when you buy the ticket. If you don’t want to give up that right you can drive or walk instead. Here is what you agree to when you purchase a ticket to fly on an airline in the United States. Of course, most people don’t actually read the fine print on their tickets. But your ignorance of the contract you’ve agreed to is no defense.
Indeed, you agree to that when you buy the ticket. Airlines have almost total control over their customers, and it’s out of hand. They’re truly parasites who try to suck every drop of blood out of you with pre-boarding, luggage fees, and the like. As Travis says, they have a right to kick people off if they want to, and in this case, unlike Dao’s, they had an actual reason to do so.
Travis cites the CDC as his source for why Delta made the wrong call. “If the CDC recommends schools not send home kids for lice — and the present policy is moving towards never sending kids home at all — shouldn’t an airline let a kid complete his travel home with his family?” he asks. A commercial flight is not an elementary school class. As was pointed out to Travis, here’s a section from the airline’s contract of carriage:
F) Passenger’s Conduct or Condition Delta will not refuse to provide transportation to a passenger with a disability, as defined in 14 C.F.R. § 382.5 and 382.31, based upon the passenger’s disability, except as as allowed or required by law. Delta will not refuse to provide transportation based upon race, color, national origin, religion, sex, or ancestry. Subject to those qualifications, Delta may refuse to transport any passenger, or may remove any passenger from its aircraft, when refusal to transport or removal of the passenger is reasonably necessary in Delta’s sole discretion for the passenger’s comfort or safety, for the comfort or safety of other passengers or Delta employees, or for the prevention of damage to the property of Delta or its passengers or employees. By way of example, and without limitation, Delta may refuse to transport or may remove passengers from its aircraft in any of the following situations:
1) When the passenger’s conduct is disorderly, abusive or violent; Delta Domestic General Rules Tariff Page 14 of 51
2) When the passenger is barefoot;
3) When the passenger appears to be intoxicated or under the influence of drugs;
4) When the passenger attempts to interfere with any member of the flight crew in the pursuit of his or her duties, or fails to obey the instruction of any member of the flight crew;
5) When the passenger has a contagious disease that may be transmissible to other passengers during the normal course of the flight;
6) When the passenger has a malodorous condition;
7) When the passenger is unable to sit in a seat with the seatbelt fastened;
8) When the passenger’s behavior may be hazardous to himself/herself, the crew, or other passengers;
9) When the passenger is seriously ill, and fails to provide a physician’s written permission to fly.
10) When the passenger’s conduct creates an unreasonable risk of offense or annoyance to other passengers;
11) When the passenger’s conduct creates a risk of harm or damage to the carrier’s aircraft and/or property, or the property of other passengers.
Without assigning blame to Travis’s kid for getting lice, he would fall under these catch-all examples. When people informed Travis, he ignored them. When they remarked on his silence, he bragged about his prestigious radio show with many listeners and pretended like it wasn’t the prudent move to not expose a flight of people to one kid with lice:
Don’t get it mixed up; Delta is absolute scum. There was possibly a more decorous way to handle this type of situation with a customer. But it’s incredibly difficult to feel bad for a person who earlier this year endorsed an airline doing this to anyone, because that would include himself. It’s also satisfying to see this happen to someone whose entire shtick is to complain about others playing the victim. This git should have given the Southwest ticket to his wife and drove or walked instead.