A Milwaukee man was removed from a Delta Airlines flight in Atlanta last week after going to the bathroom during a delay on the flight, according to footage and witness accounts.
Video of the incident was posted to social media Friday, showing what appeared to be a flight attendant and a second employee asking the passenger to leave Flight 2035 from Atlanta to Milwaukee just moments after he returned from what he said was an emergency bathroom run.
“I need more information sir. I haven’t done anything and I paid for this ticket and I actually have– I have to get home,” Kima Hamilton said to the first employee who asked him to leave the plane to discuss the matter.
But when Hamilton asked the man if the plane was going to depart when he exited, the attendant replied with “I don’t know what’s going to happen.”
Multiple passengers are seen recording the conversation as it unfolds, some even asking the attendant if Hamilton would be able to return to the plane.
In a second conversation with what appeared to be another employee, Hamilton was told that his bathroom break had forced the plane to return to the gate.
“Because we had to come back, that’s why we want to talk to you about that,” the employee is heard saying before telling Hamilton their conversation was “inconveniencing everyone.”
Hamilton explained that he had tried to use the bathroom earlier but was told he needed to wait, otherwise the plane would lose its place in line for takeoff. After 30 more minutes, he said he could no longer hold it and it was an emergency.
Witnesses noted the plane did not move while Hamilton was in the bathroom.
Hamilton, who told Milwaukee NBC affiliate TMJ4 that he is an art teacher, continued to plea with officials, telling them he had a field trip with 94 students the next morning and needed to return home.
Soon there was an announcement telling everyone they would need to leave the plane, passengers told TMJ4.
"The whole thing was uncalled for,” Michael Rosalino, who was sitting across the aisle from Hamilton, told the station.
One passenger who filmed the incident wrote in a blog post that she witnessed “the most outrageous treatment of a paying customer.”
“Not only did your staff truly harm and humiliate one person who was forced to pay hundreds of dollars for a new same-day flight, but you forced the rest of us passengers to endure a 2 hour saga of watching a man being targeted for having a bathroom emergency,” Krista Rosolin wrote. “I am disappointed and horrified at how Delta Airlines staff treated their customers/passengers.”
Rosolin told NBC News she felt the urge to record the incident "to have video of whatever transpired."
“What I couldn’t understand was, 'Okay, why is this being pursued against him when we didn’t move?'” she said.
Hamilton told TMJ4 that the rest of the passengers were able to re-board the flight and he was forced to stay back. Delta did refund him for part of his ticket, but his luggage remained on the plane and he ultimately purchased a flight home for three times the original price via another airline.
"It all escalated so fast," he said.
In a statement to NBC, Delta said its “flight crews are extensively trained to ensure the safety and security of all customers.”
“It is imperative that passengers comply with crew instructions during all phases of flight, especially at critical points of takeoff and landing,” the statement read.
The incident comes as airlines face heightened scrutiny following incidents on United Express and American Airlines flights in recent weeks.