Southwest Airlines is in for a big surprise. Today, a Muslim-American woman is planning to announce a lawsuit against the company, claiming that she was discriminated against when she was removed from a plane by federal security agents.
The woman, Irum Abbasi, from San Diego, is a Pakistani immigrant who has resided in the U.S. for a decade. The incident her lawsuit will be predicated upon apparently occurred when she was on a flight from San Diego to San Jose back in March.
A flight attendant apparently became concerned after Abbasi, who was wearing a head scarf, told someone on her cell phone, "I have to go." Many people can relate to making this statement just before a plane takes off, as airlines require that people turn off their phones before takeoff.
According to Abbasi, the attendant thought she said, "It's a go," which spurred what staff thought was a major security threat. The mother of three was then taken off the plane and briefly examined by TSA agents.
After the debacle was settled, she was placed on the next flight. The Los Angeles Times has more on the lawsuit:
The lawsuit, filed on her behalf by the Council on American-Islamic Relations-California and noted San Diego civil liberties attorney James McElroy, charges the airline with discrimination. [...]
McElroy and representatives of the Council on American-Islamic Relations have scheduled a news conference Thursday outside the terminal at Lindbergh Field to discuss the lawsuit.
Following the March incident, the airline later apologized. Abbasi has said she wants the crew disciplined.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.