One Chicago Muslim family is seeking a formal apology from United Airlines following an incident last month that resulted in the family being removed from a flight at the Chicago O'Hare International Airport.
The Muslim father and mother were traveling with their three children on March 20 for their spring break when the incident occurred, according to CNN. After the parents asked a flight attendant how they could secure a booster seat for their youngest child, United Airlines employees told them that they needed to be removed from their current flight for "a safety of flight issue," according to a video that was originally posted to YouTube by the mother, Eaman- Amy Saad Shebley.
United Airlines claims that the issue pertained to the booster seat — and not to the family's Muslim heritage.
"They were originally scheduled to fly on SkyWest 5811, operating as United Express from Chicago O'Hare to Washington, D.C., but we rebooked them on a later flight because of concerns about their child's safety seat, which did not comply with federal safety regulations," United Airlines said in its statement. "Both United and SkyWest hold our employees to the highest standards of professionalism and have zero tolerance for discrimination."
But the parents were not convinced by United Airlines' statement.
"Shame on you #unitedAirlines for profiling my family and me for no reason other than how we look and kicking us off the plane for 'safety flight issues' on our flight to DC for the kids spring break," the mother posted on Facebook. "My three kids are too young to have experienced this."
Although the family finished their journey on a later flight through United Airlines at the Chicago O'Hare International Airport, on their return trip, they booked their flight on a different airline, according to the Chicago Tribune. The family is now seeking a formal apology from United Airlines for their treatment, corrective action against the employees involved in the incident and remuneration for the adjustments made to accommodate the altered flights and travel plans.
"We are tired of Muslim-looking passengers being removed from flights for the flimsiest reasons, under a cryptic claim of 'security'," Ahmed Rehab from the Council on American-Islamic Relations told CNN. CAIR is representing the family in this case.
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