Delta Connections Carrier Pilot Refuses To Fly Plane With Muslims Onboard


ASA had the lowest rate of on-time performance, and the worst rate of mishandled baggage among all 19 US air carriers reporting to the US Department of Transportation for the full-year 2006.

This won't help:

Two Muslim religious leaders who were removed from a commercial airliner in Memphis say they were told it was because the pilot refused to fly with them aboard.

Masudur Rahman and Mohamed Zaghloul were supposed to travel on an 8:30 a.m. Delta flight, run by a subsidiary, from Memphis, Tenn. to Charlotte. They were traveling to attend a conference of the North American Imam Federation that, ironically, intends to address prejudice against Muslims.

[. . .] ASA released this statement: “Atlantic Southeast Airlines flight 5452 from Memphis to Charlotte returned to the gate to allow for additional screening of a passenger and the passenger's companion. We take security and safety very seriously, and the event is currently under investigation. Compensation and re-accommodation on the next available flight were immediately offered to the passenger and the passenger's travel companion. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience that this may have caused.”

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  • Display: Sort:
    "...returned to the gate to allow (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by KeysDan on Sun May 08, 2011 at 11:53:51 AM EST
    for additional security.."   I wonder what that was, other than to put the imam and his companion on a flight with another pilot?  If their attire is what really set the pilot off, I can only hope that he has kept up with his flight training better than with his awareness of terrorist modus operandi.  He does not have to go back too far, for the recent and deadly bombing of the Argana Cafe in the main square of Marrakesh was the result of terrorist dressed as a "hippie" and carrying a guitar.

    Sounds like a good airline to avoid (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by scribe on Sun May 08, 2011 at 05:28:20 PM EST
    flying on, not just b/c of this.  As noted upthread, these commuter airlines have some of the crappiest worker conditions and compensation for their pilots - I'm half expecting to hear next that the pilot works as a Starbuck barista when not flying, to make ends meet and sleeps in his parents's basement b.c he can't afford rent.  (For those who don't recall, that was the second job for one of the pilots of a commuter plane that crashed outside Buffalo a couple winters ago, killing all on board.)

    I'll take just a little issue (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by scribe on Sun May 08, 2011 at 07:39:18 PM EST
    when you say:

    The large legacy carriers like United and American have struggled due to their debt burden, ...

    You're neglecting the facts that the legacy carriers have also struggled under the burdens of:

    •  management and ownership looting the snot out of them,
    •  repeated runs through bankruptcy to break union contracts,
    •  and lots of other conduct destructive of just about everything but shareholder value (and even then, shareholder value also got it in the neck not infrequently).

    Well run carriers like....Hawaiian (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Rojas on Mon May 09, 2011 at 07:34:20 AM EST

    One way to reduce debt:

    "Hawaiian Airlines filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on March 21, 2003 with operations still continuing, and at the time was overdue for $4.5 million USD worth of payments to the pilots' pension plan. Within the company, it was suggested that the plan be terminated."

    anyone heard this story before:

    "The company emerged from bankruptcy protection on June 2, 2005, with reduced operating costs through renegotiated contracts with its union work groups..."

    on the job training:

    "On July 24, 2007 Hawaiian Airlines and Air New Zealand signed a $45 million contract for Air New Zealand to perform heavy maintenance on Hawaiian's Boeing 767 aircraft. The contract is to last for five years. Air New Zealand stated that this opportunity will also give a chance for them to build their expertise working on 767s"

    Seems to me (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by Chuck0 on Mon May 09, 2011 at 09:36:28 AM EST
    that the pilot should have been removed from the plane, not the passengers.

    What's been brewing for a while (none / 0) (#1)
    by andgarden on Sun May 08, 2011 at 09:33:14 AM EST
    in the airline business is that the major carriers have been pushing off formerly mainline flights to their "connect," "express," etc. . . partners. The commuter airlines have cheaper labor costs and lower safety standards.

    In all probability the real danger on that flight was the pilot himself!

    That said, commercial pilots apparently have a propensity to be wingnuts. Perhaps because they were often military in a previous life? I once saw a Bush '04 sticker in europe: it was attached to the cabin luggage of a US Air pilot departing Gatwick.

    On behalf of MT, objection to the (none / 0) (#2)
    by oculus on Sun May 08, 2011 at 10:42:02 AM EST
    generalization re former military pilots.  

    I suspect she'd be the first to tell you (none / 0) (#5)
    by andgarden on Sun May 08, 2011 at 11:55:27 AM EST
    about the general nuttiness at Colorado Springs.

    Limited liability (none / 0) (#3)
    by Rojas on Sun May 08, 2011 at 10:53:50 AM EST
    Is the reason, lower labor cost and reduced safety standards are the result.

    Given the rquirements (none / 0) (#18)
    by Socraticsilence on Tue May 10, 2011 at 04:18:57 PM EST
    for even an entry level piloting job you basically have to be former military (or I guess maybe a cropduster).

    False of course. (none / 0) (#20)
    by Wile ECoyote on Wed May 11, 2011 at 11:46:11 AM EST
    Regional pilots mostly attended college flight programs and are using the regionals to build hours.  

    Military pilots have the hours to go directly to the majors.  


    99% of regional pilots like (none / 0) (#19)
    by Wile ECoyote on Wed May 11, 2011 at 11:44:06 AM EST
    ASA pilots are not military pilots.  Regional pilots are building hours to get to the majors.  

    Shouldn't have happened (none / 0) (#7)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun May 08, 2011 at 01:46:24 PM EST
    and commuter pilots are a lot less mature than the mainline pilots. But, in their defense, the pilots would not have had any contact with the passengers. The pilots input would have first come from the flight attendants.

    And andgarden is right. You have to be a bit nutty to crawl on those military a/c to protect and defend her.

    Actually, they did a study (none / 0) (#16)
    by Harry Saxon on Mon May 09, 2011 at 08:12:34 AM EST
    and found that exposure to Fox News exacerbates nuttiness in former military pilots.  

    There's been some confusion (none / 0) (#8)
    by NYShooter on Sun May 08, 2011 at 03:48:23 PM EST
    regarding who actually made that decision.

    I've been following this story, being a former pilot and all, and because it just didn't make sense. How often does a pilot bring his plane into take-off mode, and suddenly "remembers" there were two Muslims on board? I wish I could remember where I read it, but the information was that Homeland Security actual made that call, and that pilot simply carried out his instructions.

    Anyway, has anyone heard anything about the pilot being interviewed and being asked why he requested the two passengers' removal? Wouldn't that be of interest to "reporters?"

    I don't think we've heard the whole story, but, who knows?

    I agree it is strange (none / 0) (#9)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun May 08, 2011 at 04:25:50 PM EST
    even stranger is that there is not much out there.

    As to who initiated the actions:

    Transportation Security Administration spokesman Jon Allen in Atlanta confirmed the incident and said it was not initiated by that agency


    The aircraft pulled away from the gate, but the pilot then announced the plane must return, Rahman said. When it did, the imams were asked to go back to the boarding gate where Rahman said they were told the pilot was refusing to accept them because some other passengers could be uncomfortable.



    And whatever "triggered" the pilots actions had to first come through the flight attendant.

    Plus there was a second incident:

    US-born imam Al-Amin Abdul-Latif of Long Island was barred from boarding an American Airlines flight from New York to Charlotte late Friday and told to return to LaGuardia airport for a morning flight Saturday, only to be refused boarding again, without explanation, his son said.



    Can't we just... (none / 0) (#13)
    by Thanin on Sun May 08, 2011 at 08:59:21 PM EST
    kill everyone whose racist, sexist and homophobic already and get it over with?

    No, actually, you can't, nor can "we." (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by Peter G on Sun May 08, 2011 at 10:42:36 PM EST
    But if you try, be sure to (a) remain silent when arrested, and (b) carry Jeralyn's card so you can give her a call as soon as they give you the chance.