A black woman has praised Delta Air Lines for standing up to racism after being harassed by a white woman she was sitting next to on a recent flight.
Demetria Poe, a nursery teacher who lives in Minneapolis, was travelling to Washington DC at the end of August for the Commitment March, a civil rights rally.
Writing in a Facebook post last week that has since gone viral, Ms Poe explained that she sat down next to the white passenger after helping her with her bags.
The unidentified woman left her seat briefly before take off. When she returned, she had swapped her American flag face mask with a Blue Lives Matter one.
The Blue Lives Matter movement shows support for police officers and has been criticised for equating a removable uniform with a person’s race, as well as diminishing the disproportionate numbers of black people killed by law enforcement in the US.
Ms Poe said in her post: “She proceeded to remain silent until take off but once we took off she started the conversation with me by saying, ‘I support blue lives because I support our officers.'”
“I explained to her blue lives do not exist. The life of an officer exists but there is no such thing as a blue life and that statement is nothing but a rebuttal to the fact that BLM [Black Lives Matter] has been disregarded time after time after time,” she added.
Ms Poe said in her post that the woman continued to make offensive comments, including that “Africans from the west sold the most slaves” and that “having blacks in America has been the best thing for them because they can work they [sic] way up”.
Despite feeling “fearful” and “uncomfortable”, Ms Poe told USA Today that she remained “very calm” throughout the exchange.
"There was no need for her to flip that mask in my presence. She didn’t do it for anyone else. It was as if she was making a statement and wanted me to know. I feel like in that situation they do want to see a black woman get angry,” she said.
Eventually, the white passengers around her spoke out in Ms Poe’s defence, while a flight attendant offered to relocate the woman elsewhere on the aircraft.
On her return flight, Ms Poe discovered that Delta had upgraded her seat and gifted her a goodie bag containing a journal, a luggage tag and a Delta Black Lives Matter pin.
"This furthers why I will only fly Delta Air Lines!,” she wrote.
“At this point make me an ambassador Delta. I just thank God that this didn’t flip onto me because too many cases black people are guilty until proven innocent," she wrote.
In response to her post, the official Delta Air Lines Facebook account commented: “When we say Black lives matter, we mean it. You matter to us, Demetria.”
In a statement, a Delta spokesperson said: "The actions by our people in the air and on the ground are what really set us apart as a company bringing humanity to air travel."
"Based on an idea from one of our flight attendants, Delta has designed an optional pin for our people to wear while in uniform in support of the Black Lives Matter movement," the spokesman continued.
"We have a lot of work to do for true equity to be within reach for the black community, and it’s part of our culture to represent efforts our customers and our employees care about. For now, these pins are for our people and not available to customers, but our teams chose to include a pin for this customer as part of their gesture."