Two Muslim passengers say American Airlines canceled their flight last weekend because of racial profiling after crew members said the pair made them uncomfortable.
“To be treated like this, with disrespect, suspicion, profiled me, question me in public, get my bags to be checked again for absolutely no reason,” Abderraoof Alkhawaldeh, the motivational speaker from Irving, Texas, told local station CBS Dallas/Fort Worth. He was traveling with Issam Abdallah, a nonprofit leader from Dallas.
American Airlines confirmed that a flight was canceled from Birmingham to Dallas-Fort Worth on September 14, and said the reason was “due to concerns raised by a crew member and a passenger.”
All the passengers on the flight, operated by Mesa Airlines, were rebooked on the next flight to the Dallas-Fort Worth airport, the airline said in a statement sent to CBS News.
“American and all of its regional partners have an obligation to take safety and security concerns raised by crew members and passengers seriously,” American said in the statement. It added, “Our team is working with Mesa to review this incident, and we have reached out to Mr. Alkhawaldeh and Mr. Abdallah to better understand their experience.”
Alkhawaldeh told CBS Dallas/Fort Worth that he’s flown more than a million miles with American as an “executive platinum member,” one of the airline’s membership levels that provides extras like upgrades and free checked bags.
“The flight attendant reported that [Abdallah] went to the restroom and flushed the toilet twice. The last time I know, flushing is allowed in this country,” Alkhawaldeh told the station.
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