An Arab-American family is claiming they were racially profiled on a United Airlines flight out of Chicago’s O’Hare airport and kicked off the plane. Eaman-Amy Saad Shebley took to Facebook to describe the ordeal. “Shame on you #unitedAirlines for profiling my family...” she wrote.
The post, which includes a video of the incident, has since been shared more than 35,000 times. The clip shows a flight attendant saying to the family, "We’re going to ask that you step off the aircraft with all your belongings." The husband asks why, to which the flight attendant replies, "Because they are investigating."
She added, “My three kids are too young to have experienced this. SHARE so that we Americans stand together to stop discrimination...It's definitely a trend with #Unitedairlines," Saad Shebley added, citing Tahera Ahmad, a Muslim passenger on United who was denied a soda.
The airlines has released a statement published in Click On Detroit about the incident. "We reached out to the family following their flight on March 20 to discuss their concerns," they wrote. "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. Both United and SkyWest hold our employees to the highest standards of professionalism and have zero tolerance for discrimination."
Whether or not the airline was responding to a legitimate safety concern is unclear. But one thing's for sure: the lack of information doesn't look good.