Ethnicity did not play a part, in passenger eviction says Alaska airline

29th Jul 2016
Ethnicity did not play a part, in  passenger eviction says Alaska airline

Mark French says he was kicked off an Alaska Airlines flight en route to Seattle from Dallas, because his beard frightened another passenger (Photo: Facebook/Mark French)

Kowther Elmi

A passenger on a flight to Seattle from Dallas alleges he was informed by Alaska Airlines that he was unfit to board his flight as his beard sparked a complaint from another passenger claiming to find him “Arabic and scary”.

Mark French was approached by security while in a waiting area and was told he would not be able to board his flight.

The passenger’s sister, who he was on his way to visit, Maria French was among one of the many who vocalised their anger on Facebook as she wrote:

“I am so angry. My brother Mark French was supposed to be arriving here in Seattle today, but Alaska Airlines just kicked him off the plane because someone complained that he looks ‘Arabic and scary’. I have no words. Just so angry I feel sick”.

Other comments on the airlines actions have included; “Kicking someone off a flight because they look Arabic is racist” and “Shame on you Alaska Airlines”.

The airline however, in response to the outpour of over 100 comments on the situation on social media, denies these allegations stating that “ethnicity did not play a part” and that “there is more to the story but as per company policy we do not share details about passengers”. French claims that he was told he was “unfit to fly” until he was clean shaven despite his beard appearing to be little more than stubble.

A spokesman from Alaska Airlines clarified to The Muslim News that the reason French was deemed unfit to fly was because he was “loud and disruptive in the boarding area”.

While French was contacted by Alaska Airlines with an offer to re-book his return flight for the same price, he says that it was not enough to erase the humiliation of being treated like a terrorist all because he had a beard. According to French’s sister Maria, French “was going to shave before going back”.

This type of discrimination seems to be picking up speed what with a similar situations occurring on other airlines. Such as a situation in November wherein a United Airlines flight attendant would not give Tahera Ahmad an unopened can of coke as she could “use it as a weapon”. This same flight attendant did however; give another passenger an unopened can of beer despite claiming that company regulation prevented her from providing passengers with unopened cans. Ahmad also faced virulent verbal abuse from another passenger.

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