Jewish high schooler: Airline ‘treated us like terrorists’ in booting 101 students off plane
Students at a Jewish Orthodox high school in Brooklyn, New York, are claiming they were targeted for discrimination Monday when flight attendants on a flight at LaGuardia airport kicked them off a flight destined for a senior class trip to Atlanta.
They treated us like we were terrorists; I’ve never seen anything like it. I’m not someone to make these kinds of statements,” Yeshiva of Flatbush student Jonathan Zehavi said to CNN. “I think if it was a group of non-religious kids, the air stewardess wouldn’t have dared to kick them off.”
Officials with Southwest Airlines said members of the 101 Flatbush students refused to comply with the flight crew’s instructions after boarding their AirTrans flight to Atlanta, Georgia, which delayed the flight by 45 minutes and necessitated all of them plus their 8 chaperones being booted from the plane early Monday morning.
“Reports from flight attendants and other customers confirm some passengers in the group would not sit down in their seats and some were using their mobile devices,” a Southwest spokesperson said in a statement to the Dallas Morning News. “Both are violations of federal air regulations, as well as our policies.”
But the school said in a statement of its own it would pursue its own investigation of the incident, while chaperones for the trip said airline staff behaved aggressively despite most of the students behaving according to the flight crew’s guidelines.
“They certainly did not do what the stewardess was claiming they did,” one teacher, Marian Wielgus, told CNN. “That’s what was so bizarre.”
The travel party had to be split into separate groups while taking different flights to Atlanta.
[Image via Wikipedia Commons]