She was connecting in Chicago, took a middle seat, and she asked if the passenger in the aisle seat would switch. That’s the strangest thing in the story, that an aisle seat passenger was willing to take a middle seat. I imagine that the passenger in the aisle and the one in the window were traveling together, and hoped that by leaving the middle empty they’d get a free seat between them — but that their ultimate preference was to sit together.
Southwest Airlines Boeing 737
A flight attendant instructed the passenger that she wouldn’t be allowed to change to the aisle. When asked why, the flight attendant kicked her off the flight.
Airport police then escorted Adbulle – who is of Somalian descent and was wearing a hijab, or headscarf – to the ticket counter, where she waited several hours for a later flight, Chaudry said.
The only reason offered for the ejection was the flight attendant’s comfort with the woman who was wearing a hijab.
Police asked Southwest Airlines attendant at the gate whether there was any reason why Ms Abdulle should not be allowed onto the flight and continue with her trip to Seattle. ‘The reply was no, that she does not feel comfortable.’
Interior of a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737
Southwest has refused an explanation for the incident other than to stand by the decision claiming “our employees followed proper procedures in response to this customer’s actions while onboard the aircraft”.
Now, she was a connecting passenger who actually originated at Washington National. If she were a terrorist she’d have done something on her DC – Chicago flight not her onward connection to Seattle.
The passenger asks for:
- An apology
- A refund
- A commitment to train employees so this doesn’t happen again
Here’s the press conference summing up the woman’s version of events:
Do you believe this was reasonable? Do you have sympathy for passengers ‘flying while Muslim’ in the U.S.?