Passengers File Complaint Against American Airlines For "Profiling"

Alan Scaia
September 20, 2019 - 6:57 am
American Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8

© Xinhua

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FORT WORTH (1080 KRLD) - Two passengers on an American Airlines regional carrier say they were profiled because of their Muslim faith.

The two had boarded a flight from Birmingham, Alabama to DFW Airport.

They say they were told the crew "did not feel comfortable" and were told to get off the plane before it took off last Saturday. The two said they were considered suspicious because they waved to each other during boarding, and one got up to use the restroom during a maintenance delay. He says he was told that raised suspicion because he flushed the toilet twice.

"It was really humiliating and an embarrassing situation in front of everybody," says Issam Abdalla.

Abdalla says he and Abderraoof Alkhawaldeh were told to get off the plane. They had to meet with an FBI agent and have their bags searched a second time. They were booked on a later flight.

The two say they were traveling separately, but they knew each other.

"I have the highest elite status, Executive Platinum," Abdalla says. "To be treated with disrespect, suspicion, this is absurd, unacceptable and un-American."

The two say they have filed a complaint against American Airlines with the Department of Transportation. American says the flight was operated by the regional carrier, Mesa Airlines.

"American and all of its regional partners have an obligation to take safety and security concerns raised by crew members and passengers seriously. All customers on Flight 5886 were rebooked on the next flight to DFW. We're committed to providing a positive experience to everyone who travels with us. Our team is working with Mesa to review this incident," the airline wrote in a statement.