A Muslim family that was ordered off an AirTran Airways flight on New Year's Day received an apology and refund on Friday from the airline, which said its decision to bar the passengers was necessary.Then why apologize!?!? If this action was necessary, then AirTran did nothing wrong. They should give no apology and no money.
It is interesting that the articles I read about this tell the side of the story told by the evictees, but not the side given by other passengers. I suspect that there is a fair amount of divergence between the stories. Here's evidence on AirTran's side:
Atif Irfan said in an interview with CNN that federal authorities removed him, seven family members and a friend from the flight after passengers overheard members of the group talking about the safest place to sit on the plane. He said they were being careful to avoid any "buzzwords" like "bomb" that would trigger a security alert.
The group was flying out of Reagan Washington National Airport and was headed for a religious retreat (!) in Florida when other passengers apparently overheard the conversation and reported it to authorities.
An earlier AirTran statement said the airline complied with all Transportation Security Administration and Homeland Security directives and had no discretion in the case.And also this:
But he said the pilot was influenced not only by the complaints from passengers but by the actions of two federal air marshals on board, who had learned of the incident and reported it to airport police.It wasn't just some hick racist passengers who made complaints; air marshals concurred. These factors considered, the need for apologies and refunds is clearly absent.
Of course, cries of discrimination from terrorist-group affiliated CAIR soon erupted:
"We believe this disturbing incident would never have occurred had the Muslim passengers removed from the plane not been perceived by other travelers and airline personnel as members of the Islamic faith," the group said in its complaint.(Considering recent events, I think a Muslim-based sensitivity on airplanes is completely reasonable.)
Such cries are common in situations like this. Terrorists and their allies (not to say that those in this particular group necessarily were) are quick to use the media and our political correctness to their advantage. Recall the incident in Minneapolis not long ago. A lawsuit is likely in this case, too, I suspect. Despite such antics, we must remain vigilant.