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Delta Is Sorry For Its Napkins That Encouraged Passengers To Flirt

Both Delta and Coca-Cola apologized after a marketing campaign that encouraged passengers to give their numbers to their "plane crushes" on napkins prompted a debate on whether it was creepy or harmless.

Posted on February 7, 2019, at 11:07 a.m. ET

Delta and Coca-Cola are apologizing after a marketing campaign that encouraged passengers to flirt with each other during flights prompted strong reactions from people on the internet.

Passengers on some Delta flights received a napkin that asked them to write down their phone numbers and pass it along to their "plane crush" because "you're on a plane full of interesting people and hey...you never know."

The napkins have since sparked a furious debate between people who are offended by the napkins and people who are offended by those who were offended by the napkins.

In a statement, Delta said, "We rotate Coke products regularly as part of our brand partnership, but missed the mark with this one. We are sorry for that and began removing the napkins from our aircraft in January."

Coca-Cola also apologized to "anyone we may have offended" and said they were replacing the napkins with other designs.

Some people said they found the napkins "unintentionally creepy" and that no one "appreciated unsolicited phone numbers" from passengers who were "gawking" at them on a plane.

Napkins received from @Delta on Wednesday flight seem unintentionally creepy, especially after reading the smaller print. Swing and a miss, @DietCoke.

Hey @Delta and @CocaCola These napkins are creepy AF. Pretty sure no one appreciated unsolicited phone numbers in the ‘good old days’ and they sure as heck don’t want the number of someone who has been gawking at them on a plane for hours today. Not a good look.

One person said the napkins "practically encourage affairs" on flights.

These cocktail napkins on @Delta practically encourage affairs. @CocaCola. Hey...you never know.

Another passenger who got the napkin on a flight also found it weird, saying, "Dude, I don't even want to *look* at other pax" on a flight.

I just realized I had one of these weird #Delta "flirt with other passengers, what have you got to lose?" napkins from my DTW-NGO flight four days ago. Dude, I don't even want to *look*at other pax on int'l flights

Some said that encouraging "unwanted advances" from passengers constituted harassment.

The airline industry had a decadeslong problem of sexism and sexual harassment on flights, which companies recently began addressing publicly following the #MeToo movement.

@washingtonpost Encouraging unwanted advances from strangers inside a plane? Don’t you even understand harassment @Delta?

A 2017 survey of more than 3,500 flight attendants from 29 US airlines found that 68% of flight attendants had experienced sexual harassment during their careers.

Of these, 35% experienced verbal sexual harassment from passengers including “nasty, unwanted, lewd, crude, inappropriate, uncomfortable, sexual, suggestive, and dirty" comments as well as being subjected to passengers’ "explicit sexual fantasies, propositions, request for sexual 'favors' and pornographic videos and pictures."

However, many others found the napkins inoffensive and fun and were annoyed that Delta and Coca-Cola were made to apologize for them.

@Delta @CocaCola don’t apologize for the cute napkin idea!! We just came off a flight where we got this one, which brought smiles to our faces (and made hubby want to post it in the lavatory)! And I am jealous we didn’t get the Coke one!! I love the humor!

One person said she loved the idea because she once dated a guy she met on a plane after they exchanged smiles and numbers on an airplane napkin.

@Delta @CocaCola I friggin LOVE these napkins. How anybody can find this genuinely creepy is beyond me. I once met a guy on a plane and we ended up in a 6 month relationship...and it all started with a smile and a...number...on an airplane napkin #Delta #CocaCola

Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor and father of White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, joked that "many flight attendants and nice looking women" kept giving him napkins on his Delta flight.

Dang! That’s why so many flight attendants and nice looking women kept giving me napkins on my ⁦@Delta⁩ flights. I thought they just wanted to sign up for my daily https://t.co/vU4G3fOx7z newsletter! https://t.co/SSeb7TjheC

Some praised the two brands for "encouraging people to talk to each other and make new friends," while one person thought that the napkins could even lead to new job offers and business opportunities.

Thanks @CocaCola and @Delta, for encouraging people to TALK to one another, make new friends, or do anything besides stare mindlessly at phones. But don't you know it's practically illegal to flirt these days? Sad world, but nice try & not #creepy https://t.co/5xvmHXSo80

@allison_forman @bobbybonesshow @RadioAmy @Delta I don't see the problem. You never know if someone: - Could be a business customer - Might have a job for you - May be fun to get to know What's the problem? Someone get offended by this napkin?!?

One Delta passenger said he laughed when he got the napkin and said it didn't make him feel encouraged to "do anything with other passengers."

Hey @Delta and @CocaCola your napkins are fine. I actually laughed when I saw them on my flight from Madrid. I didn't feel encouragement to do anything with other passengers just cuz of the piece of paper under my drink. People need to calm down

"I am an old school romantic," said one person who praised Delta and Coca-Cola for "helping love take flight."

It's a napkin for heaven's sake and frankly that's quite cleverly done. I know so many people who found love on a plane. What can I say, I am an old school romantic. Kudos @Delta & @CocaCola for helping love take flight ! https://t.co/Jk2zznY7s1

One woman even started a hashtag to #BringTheNapkinsBack.

Listening to the plane napkin story on the radio. This is the cutest idea, @Delta and @CocaCola! Why would you pull this?? As a woman, I think it’s the typical RomCom plot line. #BringTheNapkinsBack! (But add a yes or no option.) @allthehitsQ92

And this person was just pissed off that they could not shoot their shot any more.

Yall ruin everything. I was just waiting for my chance to hit my next @Delta flight and shoot my shot 😩 https://t.co/3VtSScqjl4 via @thisisinsider


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