A gay foster father from North Carolina was detained after a flight from New York to Raleigh-Durham airport when a flight attendant reported him for touching his son inappropriately.
Henry Amador-Batten, 52, was traveling with his five-year-old son Benjamin. They were on the last leg to their home in Durham after a journey from Puerto Rico, where his father had died.According to a Facebook post by his husband, Joel Amador-Batten, a member of the flight crew had made a complaint about his proximity to the child’s genitals.
The post reads: “Tonight my husband was detained after disembarking a United flight to RDU because a member of the flight crew made an accusation that my husband’s hand/arm laying across my sleeping son’s lap was too close to the child’s genitals.
“After being made to feel like a criminal in front of other passengers as they exited the plane my husband filed a report of his own mentioning that the male flight attendant that must have accused him had treated him oddly in flight and was promptly sent on his way.”
He later added: “The treatment by both the flight attendant and the captain were absolutely mean-spirited and completely unacceptable.”The post concludes: “This misguided man’s assumptions about my husband and the accusations that he made are completely unfounded and we plan on getting up bright and early in the morning to make as much..noise about this as I possibly can.”
In an email to the Durham Sun, a United spokesperson, Jonathan Guerin, said: “Our customers should always be treated with the utmost respect.
“We have followed up with the customer directly and we apologized for the situation.”
The couple received plenty of support on Facebook about the incident, with Adam J Gillis writing: “If this was a typical nuclear family the lawsuit would have started at the freaking airport.”But they were also challenged, with Stephen Smith asking: “So what you’re saying is that airline employees should look the other way when they see something questionable?”
Joel Amador-Batten responded: “I’m not saying anyone should look the other way, but you don’t shoot and ask questions later. There was an exploration in the part of the flight crew as to who my son and husband were to one another. There was an assumption and then an accusation.”