SOUTHFIELD, Mich. – A Southfield couple who were forced off a flight when, they were told, other passengers complained about their body odor say American Airlines has some explaining to do.
Yossi and Jennie Adler and their 19-month-old daughter were already having a tough time getting back to their eight other children after a vacation in Miami. Their Tuesday night flight at Miami International Airport was canceled because of the ice at Detroit Metro Airport.
Then on Wednesday night, they were removed from a plane after complaints about their body odor.
"My wife is embarrassed in front of hundreds of people because someone says we have body odor," Yossi Adler said. "It's embarrassing. I just want someone to tell me the truth. What happened?"
The couple said they boarded the plane last, sat down in their seats and were almost immediately escorted off.
"A minute after we sit down, a member of the ground crew tells us we have to deplane and talk to us," Yossi Adler said. "I'm terrified, thinking it's something with my eight kids at home."
Adler was then told other people had complained about his family's body odor, and that his family would have to leave.
They think it was less about their hygiene and more about them being Jewish.
Yossi Adler tried to remain calm as his family picked up its luggage, but he's furious about what happened.
"They take me off and say we've gotten complaints about you having body odor and we have to take you off the plane," he said. "I'm, like, 'Seriously? Body odor? What does that mean? We take showers every day. Do you want me to go to the back of the plane and put some deodorant on?' He said, 'No, it's too late.' The captain made the call and they closed the gate and kicked me off the plane."
He said it got even worse.
"They're holding their nose, like, 'It stinks. It stinks,'" Yossi Adler said. "That's what was so upsetting. The man said, 'Oh, you Orthodox people don't take showers.' That's what he told me. He thought we don't take showers. I'm like, 'That is absurd.'"
Already embarrassed and inconvenienced, the Adlers weren't even able to get their checked luggage as promised.
"We have the same clothes, no car seat or stroller for the baby and they have the audacity to say, 'Don't let it happen again tomorrow,'" Yossi Adler said.
Annoyances on flights aren't new, but this sparks a bigger debate: At what level of inconvenience do airlines throw people off flights if they aren't a danger to the rest of the passengers?
"If they could move them to another part of the plane so it wouldn't be as offensive, that's the first thing they should do,'" traveler Celeste Sypher-Stanley said.
"They didn't have a right to kick them off," another traveler said.