Two Muslim males from Texas say American Airways profiled them and cancelled their flight after crew members mentioned they “didn’t really feel comfy” flying with the pair.
Abderraoof Alkhawaldeh and Issam Abdallah mentioned they filed a grievance with the U.S. Division of Transportation in opposition to the Fort Price-based airline, asking the federal company to analyze the incident.
The lads say American Airways discriminated in opposition to them Saturday for showing Muslim and Center Jap throughout a flight from Birmingham, Alabama, that was headed to Dallas-Fort Price Worldwide Airport.
The pair says flight attendants reported them as a result of a crew member observed Abdallah flush the bathroom two instances whereas within the airplane restroom, based on a letter the lads’s lawyer despatched to the DOT. The lads additionally waved to one another on the airplane.
“It was essentially the most humiliating day of my life,” mentioned Abdallah, who spoke Thursday on the Dallas-Fort Price chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
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The passengers had been placed on a later flight. Alkhawaldeh and Abdallah had been questioned and searched by the FBI and the Transportation Safety Administration earlier than they had been cleared to board.
“I’ve taken a whole bunch of flights — and to be handled with such disrespect, suspicion, to be questioned in public and to be singled out and adopted round in entrance of different airport prospects — I’m actually apprehensive as to what my subsequent flying expertise can be,” mentioned Alkhawaldeh, including that he flies with American usually and is an AAdvantage Government Platinum member, the corporate’s highest frequent flier rating.
American Airways spokeswoman LaKesha Brown mentioned the flight was cancelled because of “issues raised by a crew member and a passenger.”
“American and all of its regional companions have an obligation to take security and safety issues raised by crew members and passengers severely,” Brown mentioned in a press release. She added that American is reviewing the incident and has reached out to the lads “to raised perceive their expertise.”
Saturday’s flight was operated by independently owned Mesa Airways, which handles some flights for American Airways.
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“The protection and safety of our prospects is our high precedence, and we’re conducting a radical investigation of this matter,” Mesa spokesman Jack Heller mentioned Thursday.
American Airways has been criticized earlier than over its remedy of passengers who’re individuals of color.
The NAACP issued a journey advisory in October 2017 for American Airways after a string of incidents by which black passengers mentioned they had been discriminated in opposition to on flights.
In June, a Miami physician mentioned he was faraway from an American flight for his Arab and Muslim look and for utilizing a telephone throughout takeoff. He’s now suing the airline in federal court docket. That very same month, a black physician and founding father of a telemedicine service mentioned an American Airways crew referred to as her romper inappropriate and advised her to cowl up or threat being kicked off her flight again into the U.S. from trip in Jamaica.
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On Thursday, Omar Suleiman, founding father of the Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Analysis in Dallas, mentioned the profiling of Muslims is rising, notably at airports and on planes.
“Airports are a scary place for Muslims. Particularly with the rhetoric of the president (Donald Trump),” Suleiman mentioned.
“More often than not individuals don’t step ahead to speak about their experiences,” he added. “As an alternative of simply addressing this situation in isolation, American Airways may use this chance to create protocols that stops this from taking place on a regular basis.”