Delta has changed its on-board doctor policy in response to backlash over an incident that happened onboard a flight in October.
Tamika Cross, an OB-GYN who is black, was flying Delta home from a friend’s wedding. When a passenger in the cabin became ill, crew put out a call for medical attention. Cross offered her services, to which a flight attendant replied, “We are looking for actual physicians or nurses.”
Cross posted about the interaction on Facebook and her post quickly went viral. Many medical professionals who are minorities and women commented with their own stories of people doubting their career.
After the incident gained widespread attention, Delta executives invited Cross to headquarters for a formal discussion.
Her experience onboard, and her meeting with executives afterward, triggered a change in procedure, Delta said in a press release on Monday. As of December 1, medical professionals will no longer be required to provide credentials before assisting passengers in need.
There is no legal or regulatory need to check a medical professional’s certification before allowing them to assist a passenger, Delta said in the statement. And although the verification has been customary policy, implementation of that policy has been inconsistent, Cross told Delta, according to The Washington Post. She also said medical professionals do not always carry their certification upon their person, especially if they’re not traveling on business.
“When situations like the one described by Dr. Cross arise, we have a responsibility to our employees and our customers to review the circumstances and our policies for opportunities to listen, learn and improve,” Allison Ausband, Delta’s senior vice president of in-flight service, said in a statement.
In addition to the policy change, all Delta leaders and frontline employees will undergo “inclusion training” in the upcoming year.