AURORA, Colo. — An Aurora, Colorado, woman is considering pursuing legal action against Frontier Airlines after she was detained and questioned about potential human trafficking while traveling with her sister.
Lakeyjanay Bailey, a 21-year-old Black woman, and her 4-year-old adoptive sister Olivia, who is white, were stopped by authorities inside the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport gate after exiting their July 19 Frontier flight from Denver, KMGH-TV reported.
“There were two police officers, and they came up to me and said, ‘Is it OK if we talk to you?’” Bailey told the TV station, noting that the officers peppered them both with questions regarding their relationship to one another.
According to a DFW Department of Public Safety incident report, the officers were responding to a request by Frontier Airlines for intervention at the gate after an unidentified passenger raised trafficking concerns about the pair due to their substantial age difference of roughly 16 years.
Bailey told KMGH-TV that officers also spoke with their mother, as well as a social worker, to verify the travelers’ familial relationship before following them to baggage claim and speaking with the person picking them up.
“The whole time they were talking with us, people kept staring at us, whispering and stuff,” Bailey told the TV station, noting the motive behind the officers’ actions seemed clearly motivated by race.
“If the roles were changed, and it was a white person walking off the plane with a Black person – like a Black child – I feel like things would be different,” Bailey said.
In a statement provided to KMGH-TV by Frontier Airlines, the budget carrier confirmed that the concerned passenger approached the flight crew with concerns and “completed a written report during the flight to document her observations.” The pilot, who was informed of the passenger’s concerns, then felt compelled to report the issue.
“Air travel is one of the most common means for human trafficking. Race played no part in the actions of the flight crew who were following established protocols,” the statement read.
Frontier has not yet responded to KMGH-TV’s request for clarification on the “established protocols” cited in the airline’s response.
©2021 Cox Media Group