Two Muslim men have alleged their American Airlines flight was cancelled because the flight crew “didn’t feel comfortable” when they waved hello to each other.
Abderraoof Alkhawaldeh and Issam Abdallah reveal how they were harassed by law-enforcement after boarding a flight from Birmingham, Alabama, to Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, on September 14th.
The men who had knew each other from their local Muslim community, had traveled separately to the same even tin Birmingham and were on their way home.
After they boarded, when the flight was delayed, they were told the flight was ultimately cancelled.
Alkhawaldeh shared how he overheard a crew member say it was cancelled for security reasons.
Once the men got off the plane, law-enforcement officers were waiting for them.
They were then informed the flight was cancelled because the crew did not feel comfortable flying with them.
In addition, Abdallah claimed he was told the crew was additionally suspicious as he flushed the toilet twice while using the lavatory during the initial delay.
“The flight attendant reported that he went to the restroom and flushed the toilet twice. The last time I know, flushing is allowed in this country.”
After they were questioned and had their bags re-searched, they were allowed to leave but they claim police followed them as they went to a coffee shop together.
Both Alkhawaldeh and Abdallah revealed how they were rebooked on a later flight, including many of the same passengers.
Mesa Airlines is a regional carrier that operates some flights for American under the brand American Eagle.
A spokesperson for the airline, LeKesha Brown, provided a statement, saying the flight was cancelled as a result of “concerns raised by a crew member and a passenger.”
“American and all of its regional partners have an obligation to take safety and security concerns raised by crew members and passengers seriously.
“All customers on Flight 5886 were rebooked on the next flight to DFW. We’re committed to providing a positive experience to everyone who travels with us. Our team is working with Mesa to review this incident.”