Spirit Airlines

Spirit Airlines Hit By Civil Rights Complaint After Arab-American Woman Removed From Flight

On March 5, Spirit Airlines removed a Dearborn Heights woman from a flight after she experienced a panic attack. Now the Arab-American Civil Rights League (ACRL) is to file a complaint against Spirit Airlines on behalf of the woman.

On Thursday, the ACRL held a press conference to announce the complaint against Spirit Airlines for their poor handling of Nadia Majed and her mother during a recent flight.

Reportedly, Majed, a student at the University of Michigan, together with her mother, Dr. Hoda Amine, had been in California visiting medical schools.

As reported by Press & Guide, when mother and daughter were to fly back to Michigan from California, Majed requested a window seat on the flight, as she has previously been diagnosed with anxiety and claustrophobia. Reportedly, the airline had agreed to assign her a window seat in the back row of the plane in order to help accommodate her condition.

However, on boarding the plane, it soon became clear Majed was not going to be given the allotted window seat. Explaining what the problem was, she immediately requested a flight attendant to find her a window seat. However, she was allegedly told by the flight attendant that the connecting flight was only 65 minutes.

Spirit Airlines
[Image via Flickr by Mighty Travels/CC BY 2.0]

Majed explained to the Spirit Airlines flight attendant that she still needed a window seat due to her condition, and the attendant did say she would follow up with her. While waiting, Majed went to speak with her mother, as they had both noticed an open window seat nearby. Before she could get there, however, the flight attendant came back and told her to take her seat, as they were about to take off.

When Majed once again tried to explain the situation, the flight attendant, rather than helping her, reportedly became confrontational, which lead to Majed suffering a panic attack and breaking out in hives. As that panic attack began, the Spirit Airlines attendant immediately ordered Majed and her mother off the plane.

Reportedly, the flight attendant even overruled the decision of the Spirit Airlines pilot, who had said the two women did not need to be removed from the flight. However, the pilot later said he had to support the decision of his crew members to have the two women removed.

In a statement, Majed and her mother said they were both embarrassed and humiliated by the treatment received from the airline staff.

According to Arab American News, Majed said, “As I was being escorted off the plane, people were staring.”

“There were people wooing, clapping and some people were in shock. I was already triggered and crying and had broken out in hives. I was trying to hold back my hyperventilating.”

The complaint lodged by ACRL is requesting Spirit Airlines to address the incident on the flight, along with requesting an apology for Majed and her mother. The family is also reportedly asking that the airline’s employees are given more sensitivity training.

“This woman, she did not care at all,” Majed said. “Usually, a stewardess is supposed to calm you down and accommodate you to what makes you feel better when you are flying. I felt like she was not trained well… her attitude… it’s not the way you talk to someone.”

Majed went on to say that when she made similar requests on a Delta flight, the flight attendant couldn’t have been more helpful and also checked on her several times during the flight to make sure she was OK.

Spirit Airlines
[Image via Flickr by Flox Papa/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]

The executive director of ACRL, Nasser Beydoun, blames the ethnicity of the two women for their poor treatment on the flight. According to Beydoun, the ACRL has received a large surge in complaints from Arabs and Muslims regarding the treatment they are receiving on various airlines.

He believes a lot of the current problems being suffered by Arabs and Muslims, including “humiliation, discrimination and racism,” stem from the hate rhetoric led by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

“Trump can get away with it, but companies and government agencies are not going to get away with it,” Beydoun added.

Reportedly, Spirit Airlines has yet to respond to requests for comment by the media.

This isn’t the first time Spirit Airlines has been accused of discriminatory practices. As the Inquisitr reported four months ago, claims of discrimination were levied by seven African-American passengers who were removed from a flight. In June last year, the cheap flights airline also had to explain why they left several passengers stranded at various airports across the country.

[Image via Flickr by Clément Alloing cropped and resized/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]