A couple from Fairfax, Virginia, was “deported” to India after an altercation with a Russian airline worker, they claim. The video depicting some of the ordeal has now gone viral.
Shahana Islam, 26, and Marc Fernandes, 27, are both American citizens who live in Fairfax, Virginia. But after spending some time in Russia while vacationing with family and friends, the couple found themselves stuck in India, of all places.
As the couple asked an Aeroflot worker identified as Mikhail to put them on a plane back to their country, the United States, the employee allegedly put them on a plane to New Delhi, India, instead.
The couple were told that “all citizens of the country that need visas in our country after 24 hours will be deported.” But as they begged the employee to deport them to the United States, they were judged by their appearance and then sent to India instead. The employee went as far as calling them “Indian passengers,” never acknowledging their citizenship.
In her Facebook post, Islam said the employee was being racist.
“This guy is discriminating against Indians and trying to 'deport' us all back to India. As a US citizen per International Air Transport Association (IATA) regulation, they need to send us to the US, not back to India,” she said. “He literally looked at people and decided who needs to go back to India. Can I sue him and Aeroflot?"
Aeroflot said they are investigating the incident.
Several people commented on Islam's post asking the couple to be safe and offering to do anything they can to help.
In one of the updates added to her post, Islam said that after several attempts to get Aeroflot to get them back into the U.S., they ended up buying two Qatar tickets so they could leave on Jan. 11.
"Aeroflot is not reimbursing [us] for this as of now, they are only refunding us HALF of our original ticket ($600?)," she said.
She added that she's looking for anybody who can help her take legal action against the company.
It's horrific to think that these people were discriminated against and ended up in a country other than theirs because of how they look. Unfortunately, this kind of racism is still a reality in 2018. Hopefully, this story will help give others the courage to share their own experiences.