Delta passenger: The airline wouldn't let me sing the national anthem for a fallen soldier on our flight

A video that’s gone viral thanks in part to the Trump/NFL culture clash over anthem protests. Pamela Gaudry was on a Delta flight from Philly making its descent into Atlanta when the pilot told the passengers that the plane was carrying the body of a soldier killed in action. (The soldier, apparently, was Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright, one of the four troops killed in Niger, although Delta won’t confirm that.) The pilot asked them to remain in their seats when the flight landed while an honor guard removed the casket from the plane first. Gaudry, whose late husband was a veteran, went around to the other passengers and asked if they’d join her in singing the national anthem while it was removed.

Whereupon a flight attendant told her that anthem singing is against company policy.

Huh? Delta has a policy about the national anthem? Well, no, says Delta:

Anthony Black, a spokesman for Atlanta-based Delta, declined to comment Monday on the specifics on Gaudry’s account.

“There is not a policy about singing the national anthem, period,” Black said.

The attendant told her that passengers from other countries would be “uncomfortable” if the anthem was sung. Gaudry, in a statement on Facebook, says she tried to find out if that was true but got no answers:

Delta has contacted me – no money or free tickets (I promise, and I would not have taken them)- and this is NOT their policy. Evidently they had a flight attendant that made some bad decisions in trying to make this situation go away. They are going to do some training for the future…

Were there really people on the plane that were from other countries and were uncomfortable and offended? I will never know for sure, but this is what was told to me. If I was in your country and the same thing happened, I would smile and be impressed by the patriotism. If the flight attendant just told me this to stop me singing {and be silent and reverent (which was admittedly appropriate)}, then shame on you! How could you even come up with this excuse. In a thousand years, I cannot fathom that an American could have come up with that excuse. Although, I pray that you just DID make this up because you were nervous. I have done stupid things when I was nervous or upset. If you actually conceded to these wishes of people from other countries…I cannot find the appropriate words to reprimand you.

What a strange incident. It could be there’s a policy against singing in general — imagine the annoyance if a passenger was allowed to do a few verses of “99 Bottles of Beer On the Wall” to cure the boredom during a 10-hour flight. But you’d expect Delta to have mentioned that policy by now if it existed, and obviously an exception can and would have been made for the national anthem at a moment like this. Maybe the attendant panicked at the thought of the company suddenly being embroiled in anthem politics and made a decision that … guaranteed they’d be embroiled in anthem politics? Or maybe the attendant was just a liberal. Or (shudder) a Salon conservative. You know how they are.

How did this incident escape the president’s all-seeing eye for cultural flashpoints, anyway? This is Twitter gold.