In the civil action lawsuit filed in Texas this week, Yehuda Yosef Adler and Jennie Adler said that they suffered from “unbearable humiliation, embarrassment and mental and emotional anguish” after being forced off of Flight 1023 on January 23, 2019. The couple is seeking an unspecified amount of damages.
The lawsuit states that the couple, along with their 19-month-old daughter, had taken their seats on the plane when a gate agent told Yehuda that “there’s an emergency,” and they had to deplane.
"Once outside, defendant's agent told Mr. Adler that the pilot was booting the family off the plane because of body odor," the family’s lawyer Nwadi Nwogu wrote in the lawsuit.
"Mr. Adler asked the agent if the body odor was emanating from him, his wife or child, and the agent would not respond to the question but continued to state that the Adlers must leave the plane at the instruction of the pilot and because they had extremely offensive body odor," the suit adds.
When the Michigan couple told airline staff that they had showered before their flight that morning, the “defendant’s agent made disparaging and derogatory statements telling the Adlers that he knew Orthodox Jews take baths once a week," the lawsuit explains, also noting that the flight took off with all of the plaintiffs’ luggage.
According to a statement by American Airlines, it asked the Adlers to deplane following complaints by other travelers onboard the flight.
"The Adler family was asked to deplane after multiple passengers and our crew members complained about Mr. Adler’s body odor," the airline said in a Friday statement to NBC News.
"The decision was made out of concern for the comfort of our other passengers. Our team members took care of the family and provided hotel accommodations and meals, and rebooked them on a flight to Detroit the next morning. None of the decisions made by our team in handling this sensitive situation were based on the Adlers’ religion," the statement added.