Airline Offers Apology Over Detained Muslim Passengers

AirTran Airways has issued a public apology and provided free return airfare to nine Muslim passengers who were ejected yesterday from an AirTran flight to Orlando at Reagan National Airport after two other passengers overheard what they construed as threatening remarks, washingtonpost reported.

AirTran spokesman Tad Hutcheson said the company had also agreed to refund the travelers the cost of their tickets on another carrier after AirTran refused to rebook them.

"We regret that the issue escalated to the heightened security level it did on New Year's Day, but we trust everyone understands that the security and the safety of our passengers is paramount and cannot be compromised," read a company statement. "We apologize to all of the passengers -- to the nine who had to undergo extensive interviews from the authorities and to the 95 who ultimately made the flight. Nobody on Flight 175 reached their destination on time on New Year's Day, and we regret it."

The nine passengers, including three young children, were headed to a religious retreat in Florida on New Year's Day when they were ordered off the flight but subsequently cleared of suspicion by FBI agents who characterized the incident as a misunderstanding, according to an airport official.

ad_icon

Federal and airline officials as well as several of the removed passengers said in interviews that the incident began about 1 p.m. after three of the passengers wondered aloud about the safest place to sit on the airplane. The conversation occurred as Atif Irfan, 29, his wife, Sobia Izaz, 21, and their sister-in-law, Inayet Sahin, 33, were walking along the aisle toward their seats at the back of the plane.

Officials said several other passengers overheard the conversation and became alarmed when they heard Sahin remark that sitting near the engines would not be safe in the event of an accident or explosion. Irfan and Izaz said the remark was entirely misconstrued and that the conversation was nothing more than innocuous banter.

"The conversation we were having was the conversation anyone would have," Irfan said of his sister-in-law in a telephone interview from Florida today. "She did not use the word bomb, she did not use the word explosion. She said it would not be safe to sit next to the engines in the event of an accident."

The three were traveling with six others: Irfan's brother, Kashif, 34; Kashif's three boys, ages 7, 4 and 2; Sahin's sister; and a family friend. All but one are U.S.-born citizens, but Kashif Irfan said he and the others think they were profiled at least in part because of their appearance. He said three of the six adults in the party are of Pakistani descent, two are of Turkish descent and one is African-American. He also said they have a traditionally Muslim appearance, with the men wearing beards and the women in head scarves.

Atif Irfan said he was glad for the apology but said the group was still discussing whether to accept AirTran's offer of a refund and free travel.

"They are being very conciliatory," he said.

State Social Protection Fund of Azerbaijan announces tender
State Social Protection Fund of Azerbaijan announces tender
Azerbaijani Innovation Agency announces tender to buy equipment
Azerbaijani Innovation Agency announces tender to buy equipment
Weekly overview of Azerbaijan's financial market
Weekly overview of Azerbaijan's financial market
Loading Bars
Latest
Afghan forces kill senior al Qaeda leader al-Masri who was on FBI most wanted list
UK records another 23,012 coronavirus cases with 174 deaths
8 killed, 4 injured in road accident in Pakistan's Punjab province
Armenian army's combat equipment destroyed (VIDEO)
Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry calls on civilians in occupied territories to stay away from military facilities
Ministry of Defense: Armenian Armed Forces resort to provocations to prevent operations of Azerbaijani army
Iran declares amount of loans issued to housing & construction sector
Armenia continues to use underage children in military hostilities (VIDEO)
Photo of another missile launched by Armenia against Azerbaijan unveiled (PHOTO)
President Ilham Aliyev on political objectives of Armenian military attack on Azerbaijan
In center of Baku, there is Armenian church, but mosques on occupied territories were destroyed - President Aliyev
With Georgia our relations are excellent, says Azerbaijani president
Armenian government should not try to frighten its population with Turkey - President Aliyev
And after war with Armenia stops, political settlement enforced, role of Turkey will be very important, very positive - President Aliyev
Wounds of war must be healed by political wisdom, by political will - President Aliyev
Armenian government should understand that they are not now in position to dictate - President Aliyev
Best way for future of Karabakh - to live in peace in harmony, try to become good neighbors again, says President Aliyev
Unlike Armenia, from Russia we buy weapons, we pay for them, says Azerbaijani president
Turkey is not involved in the conflict at all - Azerbaijani president
If Armenia didn’t violate ceasefire today clashes would have stopped - President Aliyev
We cleaned completely the Azerbaijani-Iranian border from Armenian occupants, and there will be no more inconvenience for our brothers across river of Araz in Iran - President Aliyev
If Armenia do not stop, we will go until end to liberate all occupied territories - Azerbaijani president
Azerbaijan became already regional hub for not only for energy, but also for transportation - President Aliyev
Armenia - occupier, it obliged to liberate territories of Azerbaijan - Lebanese political scientist
Loans of dead servicemen and persons affected by hostilities to be repaid in Azerbaijan
Recep Tayyip Erdogan: Azerbaijan begins to return its lands
Azerbaijani army liberates occupied lands with great inspiration (VIDEO)
Religious confessions of Azerbaijan demonstrate solidarity in fight against Armenian terror (VIDEO)
65 Azerbaijani civilians, including women, children, killed since beginning of Armenian provocation - Prosecutor General's Office
State-controlled international television and radio network Voice of America apologizes for its mistake (PHOTOS)
Russian Embassy in contact with family of teenager who died as result of Armenian shelling
Artillery units of Armed Forces of Azerbaijan continue to inflict crushing blows on Armed Forces of Armenia (VIDEO)
Azerbaijani flag to be raised in Shusha, Agdere and other lands - MoD
Armenia gives updated list of its soldiers killed in Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone
Weekly overview of Azerbaijan's financial market
Attacks by Armenia on territory of Azerbaijan - another act of military aggression, says Azerbaijani top official
Teenagers honor memory of Russian citizen who died as result of Ganja shelling by Armenian Armed Forces (PHOTO)
Iran discloses amount of loans issued to industrial and mining sectors
Iran reveals amount of loans issued to agricultural sector
Iranian Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale October 25
Buy/sell operations at Iran Mercantile Exchange decrease
Armenian army’s another combat UAV destroyed by Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan Air Forces destroy military equipment, infrastructure of Armenian troops
Armenian attempts to attack Azerbaijani army units suppressed
New data on Azerbaijani civil casualties, damages from Armenian attacks revealed
Azerbaijani military servicemen act within framework of int'l law - MoD
Terrorist acts against ancient city of Ganja target not only civilian population, but also historical monuments
Argentina extends COVID-19 restrictions until Nov. 8
Armenian terror walks streets of France - Lebanese legal expert
Azerbaijan confirms 220 more COVID-19 recoveries
Air Defense of Azerbaijan shoot down combat aircraft of Armenian Air Force
Reserves of Azerbaijan's Kalbajar region deposits to be re-examined, evaluated
Eight schoolchildren killed, 16 injured due to Armenian terror - Azerbaijan's Ministry of Education
Iran reveals its COVID-19 data for October 24
Azerbaijan fighting misrepresentation of its occupied territories on maps
Armenia shelling Azerbaijan’s Lachin and Gubadli districts from its territory
Import of Uzbek products into Azerbaijan increases
Value-added taxes paid by private sector down in Georgia
Volume of loans issued in Iran increases
Turkmen Ministry of Construction extends tender for construction of checkpoints
Unexploded missile on territory of Azerbaijan’s Goranboy (PHOTO)
Uzbekistan Airport announces tender for water pumps repair
Socio-economic issues in Azerbaijan - in center of attention during COVID-19 - Ali Ahmadov
Expert talks about sanctions against Armenia
Armenia must put end to attacks, illegal occupation of Azerbaijan's territory - Turkish Defense Ministry
Weekly review of events in Azerbaijani agricultural sector
Uzbekistan increases textile products manufacturing
Turkmen Health Ministry to purchase medical equipment via tender
Uzbek-Korean JV announces tender on transport services
Weekly review of Azerbaijan's precious metals market
Azerbaijan informs Russian embassy about Russian citizen killed by Armenia's attacks
Uzbek-Korean Uz-Kor Gas Chemical to buy filters via tender
Azerbaijani diaspora youth actively taking part in media fight against Armenia
Assistant to Azerbaijani president talks teenager killed due to Armenian terror (PHOTO)
Number of online payments reach record high in Georgia
Int'l financial institutions eye to provide assistance to Uzbekistan’s energy sector
Georgia’s coronavirus cases reach 26,503
Armenians barbarously exploited mineral deposits in Zangilan - Azerbaijani Ecology Ministry
Armenia at state level continues terror attacks on Azerbaijani civilians – assistant to president
Azerbaijani oil prices down
Teenager in Azerbaijan's Ganja city dies from wounds following Armenia's missile attack
Salt production growing in Turkmenistan
Uzbekistan's Ministry of Internal Affairs announces tender on equipment supply
Volumes of cargo transshipment from Algeria through Turkish ports revealed
Armenia shelling Azerbaijan’s Gubadli district by using artillery installations
Armenia's missile fire on Azerbaijan's Tartar kill 16-year old teenager - top official
Iran expects to expand oil barter with necessary goods
Azerbaijan's Naftalan, Tartar under heavy fire from Armenian troops
Georgia reveals ATM transaction statistics
Azerbaijani Armed Forces destroy military equipment of Armenia (VIDEO)
Azerbaijani Bar Association appeals to world's lawyers
Armenia's political leadership now has to take several difficult steps - Russian expert
Uzbekistan, China in talks over co-op in IT sphere
Weekly review of Azerbaijan's currency market
Armenian Armed Forces shelling settlements in Azerbaijan’s Tartar and Barda
Turkmenistan to expand its network of trading houses
Armenian armed forces firing at Azerbaijani territories in Goranboy-Naftalan direction
Armenian gov't using visit of German MPs to Nagorno-Karabakh region for propaganda
Azerbaijani president gives interview to Le Figaro newspaper (PHOTO)
OIC 'struck with astonishment' at unexpected discourse from certain French politicians
All news