Self-Described Professional Idiot Kicked Off Delta Flight This Morning for Speaking Arabic

This morning a man named Adam Saleh was about to fly Delta but was kicked off the plane, allegedly because he spoke Arabic on the phone and also to a traveling companion. He filmed the incident, and it’s going viral (over 50,000 shares in the first 2 hours). He mentions on the video that he’s even a SkyMiles member.

Saleh reported that Delta had the police meet him and he was forced to go through security procedures again — all because someone was ‘uncomfortable’ with him after hearing him speaking Arabic.

He reports that Delta claims he wasn’t dragged off because he was speaking Arabic but because he ‘spoke loud’ (though hadn’t been asked to lower his voice).

It appears from his reference to London police in one video, from a tweet about getting back to New York, the timing of his tweets and that the video appears to show 2-3-2 seating in economy I believe he was flying Delta flight 1 London Heathrow – New York JFK.

The flight is currently enroute to New York JFK… without him.

Saleh is a social media video star, and his twitter account has over a quarter million followers. He’s no threat.

He is, however, something of a provocateur — in the news recently for faking smuggling himself in a suitcase onboard a Tiger Air flight from Melbourne to Sydney. I’d normally take him with a grain of salt, but his live videos are compelling. (Tiger Air provided evidence his checked baggage prank was a hoax.)

Yet this self-described ‘professional idiot’ found himself in the midst of a serious situation.

This year we’ve seen an economist removed from an American Airlines flight for doing math (and math symbols look like Arabic to those who cannot do math, he might have been a member of the notorious al-Gebra movement and could have been carrying weapons of math instruction).

Southwest kicked a Muslim woman off for changing seats. Alaska kicked off a ‘scary looking’ Arabic man. And there have been many other recent examples.

Of course the whole point of terrorism is to scare us into living in fear and being ruled by that fear. When we give into it, the terrorists really do win.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

More articles by Gary Leff »



  1. A man speaking Arabic and using Twitter at the same time should be banned from an airline for life.

  2. This is not fair at all.
    I can see this happening with the big 3 US Carriers.
    I was a Flight Attendant for United for over 2 decades. All a Flight Attendant has to say is that, “I do not feel comfortable with this person being on my flight” and boom, they are gone.
    This happened so many times, where people were kicked off United flights, because they spoke Arabic or according to the Flight Attendants they looked suspicious (meaning looked Moslem or had beards)… Crazy unstable UA Flight Attendants…
    Who gives a shit about being banned from trashy Delta for life. Is that a threat? It is a free world and anyone can have a media account. As matter of fact, I am going to start following him on Twitter because of this situation. I like to see Delta Airlines, kiss his ass, give him bunch of miles and free upgrades and 4 confirmed economy to Business class upgrades and an apology letter.
    But screw Delta, UA, and AA. I would never step foot on their dirty planes anymore… I only fly the International carriers and if I have to fly domestic now I fly Southwest with friendly crews …

  3. So he was proven to be a fake by the airline in the previous, ‘mailing myself as baggage’ attempt, when the airline called him out with pictures of him boarding the airplane like a regular passenger.

    Now he tries to claim that Delta kicked him off ONLY because he was speaking Arabic. Sorry, he’s lost all credibility to claim anything. Yes, Delta may have been overzealous with the ejection but honestly, I am going to side with the airline this time. (and I hate Delta) He’s a trouble maker that is looking for more notoriety or free publicity for his youtube channel

  4. He might be a professional victim too. Some people are very good at that. And you fell for it. I think you would be the best mouth piece for terrorists because you have to increase eyeballs on your articles. Similar to the newspapers that gave free publicity to trump all for readership.

    I was with him till you wrote about the professional prank he pulled as stowaway. You cry wolf once…..

  5. For those of us who look suspicious ( and that includes me) it’s not difficult to dress conservatively, be extremely polite, bringing along reading material obviously non offensive to calm our fellow passengers. There is no need to test the limits of the first amendment

  6. How does a xenophobic flight attendant know if he’s speaking Arabic, Gujarati, Chinese or Pig Latin? The guy may be a bit of a provocateur but I must agree with Gary’s concluding paragraph.

  7. Over the years I’ve seen several stories of people complaining they were kicked off flights unfairly, for all kinds of reasons. Often we learn later that there is another side of the story, and that the media and the public were played for fools.

    When one of these these stories appears, I am a consistent skeptic. I presume until proven otherwise that the person’s plan all along was to win media attention.

  8. Also – anyone who provokes this sort of thing for attention is just as guilty in creating an atmosphere of intolerance as others who take more direct action. You get media and the public encouraging him to do these ridiculous (and many proven fake) things which now gives ammunition to deny those situations where something actually happened. Pretty confident this was provoked based on the past history. Most similar situations arose from 1-2 complaints which the airline overreacted to. You don’t usually hear of 20+ people going to report someone.

  9. Are you guys are all stupid obviously this white person was the most racist on the plane get your heads out of your butts people

  10. Terrorists have already won from the simple fact that we have a TSA and all the money we waste on that useless experiment. And, p.s., I won’t watch the video because that is exactly what he wanted and my only form of protest for his idiocy is to not give him my eyeballs.

  11. What a dumb ass. Tired of these celebrity types thinking they can do anything they want in the name of “entertainment”. This guy did this on purpose , probably to get free tickets, and everyone saying he shouldn’t be kicked off is ridiculous. You had TWENTY passengers complain. Come on people. Ban this guy for life from flying anyone except the middle eastern carriers. Am I a Muslim hater? Absolutely not. Am I a stupidity hater? Absolutely.

  12. Getting kicked off the plane for speaking a foreign language and being Arabian isn’t fair. I agree that shipping him self in his luggage was a very stupid move, but the fact that many people on board of that plane wanted to kick him off because he made them ” uncomfortable” is very stupid. If they had a problem with it then they should have gotten on a different flight.

  13. @Mark

    You say:
    “He’s a low rate, rabble-rousing attention whore.”

    Sounds like the President-elect of the United States. Trump and Saleh are both from the same city.

  14. Jayden Grimm is an idiot… Quacks like duck… Looks like duck…. Acts like a terrorist… Looks like a terrorist… Thank your jihad cousins… Your a professional idiot terrorist.
    Ban him from all flights…. SWIM HOME DUMB ASS

  15. By the way Jayden Grimm….. If you were an American…. Democracy wins…. 20 to 1…. He deliberately made them uncomfortable & scared themso as to to move his personal issues forward…. That’s the definition of a terrorist.
    B. Franklin said it best… Shut up so everybody doesn’t know how stupid you are (paraphrased)

Comments are closed.