Muslim Student Suing Spirit Airlines for Discrimination
A Muslim student from the University of Michigan is suing Spirit Airlines after being kicked off a flight last week. The student is suing when she was originally refused a window seat that appeared to be open. Ms. Majed claimed that she needed a window seat for medical reasons. The details are murky, but there was a verbal altercation between the passenger and flight attendant over the request.
At some point, the passenger was taken off of the flight. Now, she is claiming that the sole reason for taking her off the flight was based on her ethnicity, as she is a Muslim. The Arab American Civil Rights League has requested that the Department of Civil Rights investigation the allegations.
According to CBS News:
Nadia Majed says she was diagnosed with claustrophobia and anxiety, and asked for an apparently open window seat when she got into a dispute with a flight attendant.
“She asked me, ‘do you not understand what I’m telling you? I said go back to your seat,’ and she’s snapping her neck and like raising her voice,” said Majed.
“I just started hyperventilating,” she said.
“I kind of lost it – one thing I did wrong – I swore at her and she said ‘you want to swear at me, watch I’m going to get you kicked off this plane,’” said Majed who said it was all very humiliating.
“There were people who were drunk … and causing a bigger comotion.”
I don’t really see why the assumption would be that she was thrown off the flight because of her ethnicity. While medical conditions should be taken into consideration, the point to ask to be accommodated for that is far before you are on the plane and already have an assigned seat. For many reasons, the flight attendants often don’t allow people to change their seats, and this may have been no different. If this passenger has medical issues, she should have called the airline with a request for a window seat far in advance. It is hard to imagine why the conclusion being drawn here is that the request was denied based on ethnicity. There doesn’t seem to be a claim from the passenger that any comment was made that would point to that. Perhaps we will get more information as time goes on. Currently, we are still awaiting a comment from Spirit Airlines.