Nov 18 2010
Of course, they also get sued a lot by Muslims (another reason they need your business). Nine Muslim passengers are suing AirTran Airways in federal court, alleging that the airline discriminated against them by removing them from a Jan. ’09, flight out of Reagan National Airport and refusing to rebook them.
Washington Post “We want to send a clear message that discrimination will not be tolerated and ensure that others will not
have to endure this unfair and embarrassing treatment,” said Michael Kirkpatrick, a lawyer with Public Citizen and co-counsel for the plaintiffs, brothers Kashif Irfan of Alexandria and Atif Irfan of Rockville; their families; and a friend, Abdul Razak Aziz of the District.
“As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, we hope that airlines will be more sensitive when Muslim Americans travel to spend time with family and friends,” said Kashif Irfan. The lawsuit alleges that two teenaged girls seated nearby mistook an innocuous comment by the group about safety at the rear of the airplane as a threat. The suit claims that AirTran refused to rebook the group even after FBI investigators cleared them to travel.
In a statement, AirTran said that safety is its primary mission and that it “denies liability and looks forward to vigorously defending ourselves in court.” The airline added that it was a member of the public that triggered the incident, and that the Transportation Security Administration and Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority police also were involved.
WBIR AirTran released the following statement: “At departure time, the captain informed the airline that there were two federal air marshals on board who contacted local Washington law enforcement officials for a security related issue on board the aircraft involving verbal comments made by a passenger and overheard by other passengers. The airline then advised the Transportation Security Administration.”
Upon arriving at the gate and interrogating several passengers, the TSA determined that the 104 passengers on board must deplane and all passengers, crew and bags should be re-screened.
After the re-screening of the passengers, crew, bags and the aircraft, 95 passengers were allowed to re-board the aircraft and nine were detained for interrogation by the local law enforcement officials and the TSA.
Flight 175 departed nearly two hours late and arrived safely at its destination. AirTran Airways complied with all TSA, law enforcement and Homeland Security directives and had no discretion in the matter.”
They were assisted by the FBI in arranging flights on another airline hours later. Some of them felt they were the victims of profiling. (They were, all Muslims should be profiled)
“It’s not like we used words like terrorist or bomb,” one of the passengers said. “People sometimes hear what they want to hear.”
AirTran said in its statement that the nine passengers involved were offered full refunds and could fly with AirTran Airways again after being released from questioning from the TSA.