American Airlines crew ‘not comfortable’ with Muslim men on flight, they claim – Fox News

American Airlines crew ‘not comfortable’ with Muslim men on flight, they claim – Fox News

Two Muslim men have filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Transportation against American Airlines, alleging that their flight was canceled after they were racially profiled by the crew.

“It was really the most horrible, humiliating day of my life,” one of the men said at a press conference Thursday, Fox 4 reported.

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On Saturday, Abderraoof Alkhawaldeh and Issam Abdallah were traveling separately from Birmingham, Ala., to their homes in Dallas aboard a flight operated by Mesa Airlines, a regional carrier that operates as American Eagle. After boarding, the men — who knew each other from the Muslim community in Dallas, and who were both in Birmingham to discuss plans to open schools in Africa via a charity organization, according to Fox 4 — waved at each other from their seats, they say.

The plane was then reportedly delayed for a maintenance issue, at which point Abdallah used the restroom. When he came out, however, he claims a flight attendant was standing just outside the door “like she was eavesdropping.”

The entire flight was eventually canceled, and all passengers were deplaned. However, Alkhawaldeh and Abdallah claim they were followed by security throughout the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth airport while they awaited another flight.

“The airline crew, they called the police at the airport, and they said that [they] were not comfortable to fly with these men,” said Abdallah, a local leader in the Dallas Muslim community, said during a Thursday press conference at the Dallas-Fort Worth chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. He added that he was also told he was being investigated because he “flushed twice” in the restroom.

The two men’s bags were also searched again by TSA agents in Birmingham.

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When reached for comment, American Airlines confirmed that it was both a crew member and a passenger who had raised concerns.

“American Airlines Flight 5886, operated by Mesa Airlines, from Birmingham to Dallas-Fort Worth on Sept. 14 was canceled due to concerns raised by a crew member and a passenger. American and all of its regional partners have an obligation to take safety and security concerns raised by crew members and passengers seriously.”

When reached for comment, American Airlines confirmed that it was both a crew member and a passenger who had raised concerns. (iStock)

In addition to a review of Saturday’s incident, the airline also wrote that it was reaching out to both men, as well.

“We’re committed to providing a positive experience to everyone who travels with us. 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.”

The airline also confirmed that both men, along with the other passengers from the canceled flight, were rebooked on the next plane to Dallas.

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Alkhawaldeh, a Muslim motivational speaker and an AAdvantage Executive Platinum member, per The Dallas Morning News, has since called the entire ordeal “unacceptable.”

“I’m literally having a hard time sleeping some nights,” he said at the press conference.


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