Passengers were kicked off an airplane for speaking Russian, according to ABC 10 News. In all, six people, including a business owner, accountant, and teacher, were removed from the flight because the stewardesses “were intimidated by us speaking a different language,” Dmitry Bitman and wife Sana told reporters.
The incident occurred aboard a Spirit Airlines flight to Las Vegas. The group were going to an anniversary party last week when, 10 minutes after getting to their seats, they were removed from the plane.
Bitman said he and others were discussing the party in their native Russian tongue when a worker aboard the flight approached and said, “This row needs to get up and leave now.”
“It was humiliating to be treated that way,” Sana Bitman said.
The passengers kicked off the airplane for speaking Russian said they were given no warnings by the airline before removal. In a cell phone video of the event, 10 News noted, a worker tells the group “You didn’t hear it.”
Sana responded, “There was no announcement.”
Spirit Airlines has not issued a statement or returned 10 News’ request for comment, but the Bitmans said they were issued a refund by the airline. That didn’t get them to Vegas on time, however, and they ended up missing the anniversary party.
The group is now seeking legal counsel. Attorney Daniel Petrov told 10 News that it was illegal to discriminate under these circumstances. “They [passengers] were kicked off the plane for speaking Russian. It’s that simple. It’s illegal.”
Given recent Spirit Airlines headlines, it’s surprising they even issued a refund after refusing one to a dying Marine in May 2012. That incident gave way to a Facebook protest that rapidly shot up to 25,000 likes.
Spirit Airlines has also tried to hide fees from customers in order to win their business. Most notably the company fought against a rule requiring them to include all taxes and fees in advertised ticket pricing. Essentially the airline prefers to say a one-way fair is $67 and then throw in an additional $60 in charges at the time of checkout.
The results: just read through the sea of one-star reviews over at Skytrax, the web’s largest airline review site. As of this writing, 1,165 reviews, and most are none-too-flattering. And Spirit? They don’t really care what you think:
What’s your Spirit Airlines experience? Should the passengers kicked off the airplane for speaking Russian be allowed to sue?