Of course we all live in an age of heightened airport security. Signs remind us that “we” the passengers are the eyes and ears and report any suspicious activity.
That is what some passengers on an AirTran flight from Reagan National to Orlando thought they were doing…being vigilant. Anyone who has played the game telephone know how easy it is to mis-hear things. Well a group of 9 Muslim folks were on the plane and discussing the safety of the plane, something that many people would talk about before trusting their safety on a piece of technology 30,000 feet in the air. One passenger thought it was suspicious and reported the event.
This caused the party of 9 to have to de-board and be interviewed by the FBI. It also caused the other 104 passengers and their luggage to be re-screened before the plane can leave.
No matter if this was too much of an overreaction, the part I don’t get is even after the FBI cleared the group, AirTran would still not allow them to fly on their airline and would not set them up on another flight.
AirTran says they were given a full refund and may now fly again in the future, but I imagine that is not very likely.
UPDATE: Per MSNBC.com:
Orlando, Fla.-based AirTran said in a statement that it refunded the passengers’ air fare and planned to reimburse them for replacement tickets they bought on US Airways. AirTran also offered to take the passengers back to Washington free of charge.It is a good thing to see AirTran came around and did what was right!