A Muslim woman is claiming discrimination after a modest request for an unopened can of Coca-Cola on a United Airlines flight left her in tears.
Tahera Ahmad, 31, a Muslim chaplain and director of interfaith engagement at Northwestern University, was wearing a hijab on a domestic United Airlines flight from Chicago to Washington. When she asked a flight attendant for an unopened can of Coke for hygienic reasons, the flight attendant refused, but Ahmad then observed the same flight attendant give an unopened can of beer to a man sitting next to her. After asking the flight attendant for an explanation, the response was, “We are unauthorized to give unopened cans to people because they may use it as a weapon on the plane,” according to Ahmad.
United Airlines spokesperson Charles Hobart told CNN that a flight attendant tried multiple times to fulfill her request but could not due to a misunderstanding. United Airlines also further apologized “for not delivering the service our customers expect when traveling with us."
In a Facebook post, Ahmad expressed that she was “truly disappointed” with the airline’s response and called the initial incident discrimination.
"I have not received a written sincere apology for the pain and hurt I experienced as a result of the discrimination and hateful words towards me," she wrote in the post. "This is not about a can of soda."