An Arab-American family who was asked to leave a plane traveling on a United Airlines flight from Chicago O’Hare airport claim that they were racially profiled. The story came to light on Facebook when Eaman-Amy Saad Shebley posted “Shame on you #unitedAirlines for profiling my family…”.
She also included a video on her post showing the incident. The video was shared over 35,000 times! The short video clip displays a member of the flight crew explaining to the family “we’re going to ask that you step off the aircraft with all your personal items.” The father of the family asked why, simply to be told that they were ‘’investigating’’.
The family was outraged, as they believe they were requested to leave purely because of the way they looked.
Eaman-Amy Saad Shebley went on to add how she was angry because he family were too young to experience such an event. She encouraged people to share the post so that Americans can stand up against discrimination. Before long, #Unitedairlines was trending. Other stories then came to the spotlight such as a Muslim customer who was refused a can of soda.
The airline responded to the claims by publishing a statement on Click On Detroit. Airline representatives explained how they reached out to the passengers after their flight on 20th March to talk about their concerns. They went on to state how originally the family was due to fly on SkyWest 5811. This flight was traveling from United Express from Chicago O’Hare to Washington D.C. However, it turned out that the family was they moved onto a later flight due to worries about their youngest child’s safety seat that didn’t meet the safety requirement regulations. They finished their statement by saying that both SkyWest and United Airlines have extremely high standards when it comes to their staff members and that they have a strictly zero tolerance for discrimination.
There is not enough evidence to determine whether the airline company was merely responding to safety concerns. However, one thing that we can be sure of is that the little information given doesn’t sound promising.