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Southwest Airlines Apologizes to Muslim Passenger

(RNS) Southwest Airlines has apologized to a Muslim woman who claims she was removed from a flight from San Diego on Sunday (March 13) because of her Islamic headscarf and South Asian background.
“We sincerely apologize for the customer’s inconvenience, and we regret that she was unable to travel as scheduled,” the airline said in a statement issued Wednesday after Irum Abbasi, a U.S. citizen originally from Pakistan, demanded an apology.
Abbasi, a 31-year-old mother of three, was traveling to San Jose, Calif. when she was escorted off the plane. A crew member thought she was acting suspicious, and had said “It’s a go,” in a cell phone conversation.
Abbasi claims she actually said “I’ve got to go” because the plane was about to take off.
“She was an emotional wreck. She was crying,” said Edgar Hopida, a spokesman for the San Diego chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “We need to make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else.”
Abassi’s ejection occurred the same day that Alaska Airlines removed three Jewish passengers from a flight because ritual prayers they were saying before take-off alarmed crew members.
Abbasi was later met by TSA officers who realized the error and did not search her or her bags. Southwest gave Abbasi a ticket for the next flight to San Jose, and a travel voucher “as a gesture of goodwill.”
A Southwest spokesman said the airline was investigating the incident, but that it was against company policy to discuss whether any employees will be disciplined.
– OMAR SACIRBEY, Religion News Service

  • Henrietta22

    Those Southwest Airlines seem to have a lot of mistakes, don’t they?

  • pagansister

    I’ve flown SW many times and never seen a problem. In fact, I like SW quite a lot. Too bad about the above mistakes on their part. The crews have veen very zealous in their observations, and in the above observations incorrect. On the up-side—if indeed the observations had been right on, a problem (s) might have been aborted. There must be a happy medium somewhere.

  • Liza18
  • nnmns

    It’s outrageous and they should pay a big compensation. Salon has a column by a real pilot and he’s listed several comparable snafus here. We have way, way too many craven cowards among us.

  • Henrietta22

    Funny but sad the Salon article nnmns. Southwest I think was the airline that complained about a young ladys skirt and shirt being too revealing awhile back, and something about a child incident that was strange, too. Might even be some I forgot about. Different people in the U.S. than there were years ago, they respond at the drop of hat, and make bad decisions. I traveled on the east coast quite a bit in the 40’s and 50’s, and it was just pure relaxation and fun. We traveled in the West in the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s and no drama, just laughs.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment just charlie

    I may not have a ‘normal’ point of view when it comes to safety/security but due to the way I grew up (locations/conditions) I have seen the ways of a myriad of cultures and tend to be very conservative in my viewpoint. For those that think the US has gone too far with transportation security-TAKE OFF YOUR BLINDERS AND GROW UP!!! If you think we are intrusive in any way, I say to you, go to any of the eastern cultures and see what you go through and if you object, you just opened a can of worms that by the time your arrogant feeble brain senses your mistake, it’s too late to put the cap back on the bottle. Delayed a few hours? Consider yourself fortunate that is all the discomfort you have. Security/Safety trumps your personal rights and comfort each and every time. If it were up to me, if you object and cause a scene, you are sidetracked until there is a plane full of people with your attitude then you can all get on the same plane and take your chances with each other. And another strange anomaly that arises with such people-The ones that scream the loudest are the very 1st to scream lawsuit when the airlines try to placate them and take shortcuts that allow ‘something’ to happen.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Mordred08

    just charlie: “If you think we are intrusive in any way, I say to you, go to any of the eastern cultures…”

    Because apparently “at least we’re not like those eastern cultures” is an excuse for anything.

    “If it were up to me, if you object and cause a scene, you are sidetracked until there is a plane full of people with your attitude then you can all get on the same plane and take your chances with each other.”

    Thank Satan it’s not up to you then. If the only way to fly to another country was through your hypothetical airline, I’d take my chances in a rowboat. Or just wait a month until you go out of business, because that’s what that attitude will get you.

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