Muslims Booted From Flight for 'Suspicious' Comments

Discussion over safest place to sit gets family chucked off AirTran jet
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 2, 2009 6:20 AM CST
A Midwest plane taxis past a parked AirTran plane in this file photo.    (AP Photo/Morry Gash, file)
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(Newser) – An American Muslim family was booted off an Orlando-bound flight at Reagan National Airport after two of them were overheard discussing the safest place to sit on a plane, the Washington Post reports. Suspicious passengers reported the family, dressed in traditional Muslim garb, to the flight crew. FBI agents were alerted and removed the extended family of eight, including three small children, from the plane, along with a friend they had been seen talking to.

"People made comments they shouldn't have made on the airplane," said an AirTran spokesman. "Other people heard them, misconstrued them. It happened these people were of Muslim faith and appearance. It escalated, it got out of hand and everyone took precautions." FBI agents cleared the group—all but one of whom are US citizens—after questioning, but the airline refused to rebook them on a later flight.