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Alaska Airlines passenger goes viral after being escorted off flight in weight-shaming claim

Viral video featuring Ray Lin being escorted off Alaska Airlines flight by Fairbanks police.
Viral video featuring Ray Lin being escorted off Alaska Airlines flight by Fairbanks police.(Ray Lin Howard)
Published: Sep. 9, 2021 at 7:51 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) -Alaska Airlines has received attention from millions of people around the world in this series of videos that recently went viral. The videos were uploaded to TikTok by Howard Ray Lin, a Fairbanks resident who was escorted off a flight from Seattle to Alaska because of her clothing. Howard stated she was being discriminated against, and was not in violation of any of the airline’s policies.

“I was not expecting any of this to happen. I wear crop tops pretty regularly, even to work. As well as like, active wear, sports bras, things like that. I’ve never had any trouble. It really surprised me and really kind of took me back. I knew that if I didn’t record it that people would not believe that it happened,” said Howard.

Howard boarded the plane in Seattle wearing this leopard print crop top. En route to Fairbanks she removed it as it was hot on board the plane, leaving on a black sports bra. As the flight was not full passengers were told they could spread out, and Howard moved to an aisle seat.

Probably 5 to 10 minutes after that I was approached and asked to put my shirt back on. Probably 5, 10 minutes later, again I was approached by a different stewardess telling me that the outfit I had on was inappropriate. This was the same outfit I had boarded the plane with. I told her, “I’ve done what you’ve asked me to do. I put my shirt back on. This is what I’ve been traveling in all day. I’ve had no issues. And she said that because my stomach was showing that was against their dress code policy,” said Howard.

This exchange resulted in the flight crew calling Fairbanks police to meet them at the gate when the plane landed. Howard was escorted away from her husband and 6 year old son while the other passengers were told to remain seated.

“I cannot just chalk this up to being this would happen to anyone because so much time went by. This was definitely thought out by the flight attendant. You had two hours to decide if this was worth calling the police over and you decided yes. I think one of the biggest problems is you are leaving authority up to people, just regular people with their own bias, their own discriminations, we all have them, and you’re leaving so much authority in their hands, that of course people are gonna abuse that authority. Statistically speaking it’s going to happen,” remarked Howard.

Howard continued, “I feel like there’s so much discrimination against people just based on how they look. Me I’m big, I have tattoos, I look like a criminal so people automatically are like, yeah she’s guilty, look at her, you know that she was not nice you know that she was freaking out you know that she was drunk or she was this, but that just didn’t happen.”

In the video Howard is seen cooperating with police, and states that she was not at any point in violation of Alaska Airline’s dress code, which is describe on their website as casual, and the requirement is simply a neat and well-groomed appearance.

When asked about the incident Alaska Airlines stated, “We’re in contact with the guest. We’re committed to finding out what happened and taking the appropriate actions.” Howard was offered a full refund for her tickets, and was offered a discount code for future travel.

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