There appears another profiling incident on an airline after an Israeli-Arab and a Palestinian were forced off an Aegean Airlines flight from Athens to Tel Aviv. There was no reason given for the objections to flying with the two men other than their being Muslim or Arab. It is extraordinary that these men would have to deplane rather than those objecting take another flight but the airline insisted “safety must be first.”
The flight was delayed more than 90 minutes after, according to the airline, an “initially small group of passengers very vocally and persistently asked for two other Israeli passengers to be checked for security issues.” Both men has valid documents — one had an Israeli passport and one an Israeli residence permit — and the airline admits that it appeared a case of “racially profiling the customers, indeed their fellow Israelis … safety must be first.”
Notably, the police checked out the men and cleared them but then the rest of the Israeli passengers started to demand their removal: “It started with three or four people and by the end there were 60-70 people standing up, demanding that the pair disembark.”
Notably, the pilot did the right thing and “said anyone who does not feel safe to fly should disembark and would not be compensated. But by that stage, the two men were in a poor state and wanted to leave themselves.”
That is an incredible result that the unruly passengers prevailed. The men has to stay overnight (at the airline’s expense) and take an El Al flight on Monday.
It seems like the pilot and the airline tried to protect these men but the result remains highly disturbing. It is an illustration of the continuing problems faced by Arabs and Muslims in traveling around the world.