SAN DIEGO – A Muslim woman is suing Southwest Airlines for kicking her off a flight from San Diego in March after crew members became suspicious of her behavior, the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday night.
Irum Abbasi, a U.S. citizen who emigrated from Pakistan a decade ago, was seated on a plane ready to depart from San Diego for San Jose when a flight attendant became worried about what she thought Abbasi was saying on her cellphone.
Abbasi said she had told the caller, "I have to go" -- but the attendant thought she had said, "It's a go," the Times reported. The San Jose State University graduate student, who was wearing a hijab, the Islamic head scarf, was escorted from the plane by a Transportation Security Administration official.
Southwest apologized for its actions three days after the March incident, saying "We sincerely apologize for the customer's inconvenience." After realizing a mistake had been made, Abbasi was given a seat on the next flight to San Jose and a travel voucher.
Civil liberties attorney James McElroy and representatives of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, who filed the lawsuit on Abbasi's behalf, have scheduled a news conference Thursday in San Diego to discuss the case.