A Muslim family removed from an airliner Thursday after passengers became concerned about their conversation say AirTran officials refused to rebook them, even after FBI investigators cleared them of wrongdoing. CNNEight members of Atif Irfan's family were supposed to be on an Air Tran flight from DC's Reagan National to Orlando as part of their dastardly plan to meet up with other family members to attend a religious conference. The five adults and 3 children had what sounds to be pretty similar to a conversation I often overhear among people who don't travel [by air] routinely when taking a flight
"We were (discussing whether it was safest to sit near) the wing, or the engine or the back or the front. . ."My guess is that it is a similar conversation the passengers who reported the group may have, at some point, overheard others have or even had themselves. Unfortunately for Irfan's group, they were FWC (flying while colored) and doing do in the US where, I kid you not, I have personally witnessed Arabs be confused for "wetbacks" and Hispanics/Latinos be confused for "A-Rabs." After other passengers raised concerns to flight attendants, the two air marshalls on the flight contacted the FBI who took Irfan's family and a family friend, an attorney at the Library of Congress who was not traveling with the family but was seen speaking to them, off the plane for questioning.
The entire group was cleared by the FBI, who went the extra step to request the group be allowed to take a later flight to get to their destination. Air Tran may be a discount airline but they certainly know how to give a first class F-you: they offered a full refund and stated the family can [try to] fly with Air Tran again in the [distant] future, just not one that can get them to this vacation.
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