Monday 17 May 2021

Two Arabic speaking men kept from boarding US plane

NEW YORK, November 22, 2015

Two men were kept from boarding a Southwest Airlines flight from Chicago to Philadelphia because they were speaking Arabic, said a report.

Maher Khalil and Anas Ayyad, of Palestinian origin, were told by a gate agent at Midway Airport on Thursday that they wouldn’t be allowed on the plane because a fellow passenger had overheard them speaking Arabic - and was afraid to fly with them, said a report by Agence France-Presse (AFP)

The two friends were eventually allowed on the Southwest flight, but only after being questioned by airport security and police.

Once on board, Khalil said some passengers made him open a white box he was carrying - filled, it turns out, with sweets.

“So I shared my baklava with them,” he was quoted as saying.

Southwest Airlines told AFP in a statement the flight “departed a few minutes behind schedule” after airline employees “completed conversations with customers who approached us during the boarding process,” without providing more details.

Similar incidents have reportedly taken place on other US domestic flights in the wake of last week’s attacks in the French capital that killed 130 people, which were claimed by Islamic State extremists.

Tags: US | Arabic | flight | men | scare |

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