A flight attendant allegedly locked the wife of a former FBI agent and her 3-year-old toddler into a plane toilet and accused her of causing a “terrorist” incident, a newly-filed lawsuit claimed.
Yazz Giraldo, 42, said her children were left “traumatised” by the experience and she is now in therapy after the ordeal and claimed her family was racially targeted because she and her husband Ali Moghaddam had been speaking in Farsi to their children.
The lawsuit said Giraldo was flying to New York with her family to attend a wedding in Long Island in September when the flight attendant prevented her and her children from using the toilet.
She said that “everybody else was using it” but they were informed they would be unable to use the facilities and she was forced to change her daughter on a seat towards the end of the plane.
As her son urgently needed to go to the toilet, another American Airlines flight attendant allegedly told her there was no prohibition to using the lavatory and she took the boy to use the toilet, the lawsuit claimed.
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The suit, which was filed with the Brooklyn Federal Court, claimed the flight attendant who had tried to prevent her from using the first-class facilities once again tried to stop her despite her son “holding himself, he was about to lose it.”
But once she entered the lavatory, she heard the telltale sound of someone locking the door from outside.
She said: “I closed the door, when I’m inside the bathroom I start hearing the noise, ‘tick, tick, tick.’
“I freaked out. I was already under so much stress. … I started to panic, I banged on the door a few times and I said, ‘Let me out of here.’ She was punishing me for challenging her.”
Giraldo, a former TV personality who speaks three languages, said she was left “shaking” as she desperately called for someone to let her and her son out.
Once finally releases, the lawsuit claims a supervisor yelled at her and told her that “the pilot decided to put the plane under terrorist attack warning because of you.”
She alleged she tried to explain the situation but was accused of lying by the screaming flight attendant: “I immediately knew it was racism. I immediately knew I was being discriminated against. I was humiliated.”
Her husband remained unaware of the incident until they disembarked in New York ad he was sat separately from his family, and they were met by security officers.
Moghaddam, 44, a former prosecutor with the FBI, slammed the flight attendant for seemingly labelling him and his family “as terrorists”.
He told The New York Post: “I dedicated about a decade of my life to public service, to protecting the community.
“Joint Terrorism Task Force, undercover, SWAT, all of this … for my family to be labelled as terrorists and be marched off a plane just because we want to change a diaper?”
Moghaddam said responding officers immediately relaxed their stance when he requested his family be taken to the airport’s FBI substation and realised he had experience with law enforcement. The family were allowed to leave after 15 minutes.
He said: “For me, there are certain terms that have a history and connotation that is very negative.
“That word terrorism is unique, especially considering all my sacrifices… you don’t throw that around.”
American Airlines said they are “reviewing” the claims Giraldo made in her lawsuit.
They said in a statement: “American strives to provide a positive and welcoming experience to everyone who travels with us and we take allegations of discrimination very seriously. We are reviewing the details of the lawsuit.”
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