United Airlines have been forced to defend themselves after one of their pilots was filmed asking a Muslim family to get off a plane.
Eaman-Amy Saad Shebley, her husband and three young children were on a flight bound for Washington at a Chicago airport when the pilot asked them to leave, reports the Independent.
The family had reportedly enquired earlier whether the air stewardess could provide five-point harness safety seats for their children.
Footage filmed by Ms Shebley shows an air stewardess and then the pilot asking the family to leave.
Ms Shebley can be heard asking the pilot whether it is a ‘discriminatory’ decision – but the pilot replied it was a ‘flight safety issue’.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has sent a letter to United Airlines on the family’s behalf demanding disciplinary action against the staff involved.
CAIR-Chicago Executive Director Ahmed Rehab said in a statement:
We are tired of Muslim-looking passengers being removed from flights for the flimsiest reasons, under a cryptic claim of security.
Security means securing passengers, not harassing and humiliating them and booting them off their flight for, of all things, actually asking for security.
Ms Shebley wrote on Facebook:
Shame on you #unitedAirlines for profiling my family and me for no reason other than how we look and kicking us off the plane for ‘safety flight issues’ on our flight to DC for the kids spring break.
My three kids are too young to have experienced this.
The airline did apologise to Ms Shebley’s family after they got off the plane and were rebooked on another flight.
In a statement to BuzzFeed News, the airline said:
[The family] was rebooked on a later flight because of concerns about their child’s safety seat, which did not comply with federal safety regulations.
They also said the airline has ‘zero tolerance for discrimination’. Hmmm.