American Airlines Flight Delayed – Passenger Concerned With Arabic Speaking Men
(SignonSanDiego.Com) A conflict between passengers at Lindbergh Field Tuesday night caused the overnight delay of an American Airlines flight headed to Chicago.
Flight 590 was scheduled to depart at 11 p.m. for Chicago O’Hare International Airport but was rescheduled for Wednesday at 10:15 a.m. after some kind of dispute among customers started at the gate and continued onto the plane, said American Airlines spokesman Tim Wagner.
While Wagner said it is the airlines policy not to disclose any information about their passengers, televised reports claimed that the incident involved a group of six to seven Iraqi Americans and another passenger who was apparently uncomfortable that the men were speaking in Arabic.
The jet left the gate at 11:14 p.m. but did not take off and instead returned at 11:26 p.m. after a traveler with a child elected to get off the plane, Wagner said.
The airport’s 11:30 p.m. curfew then prevented the plane from taking off, Wagner said.
He said 126 passengers had booked the flight, although he didn’t know the exact number that boarded.
Christine Zugay of Chicago was on board flight 590. She said that after the plane’s doors closed and everyone was seated, the plane left the gate and began to taxi toward the runway.
The pilot then came on the intercom and said there was a problem onboard the jet that needed to be taken care of, and that they were returning to the gate, Zugay said.
A few minutes later, the pilot notified passengers that the flight would have to be rescheduled due to Lindbergh Field’s 11:30 p.m. curfew on departures.
Zugay said she did not see or hear any altercation on the plane, but that disembarking passengers were talking about a woman and a child who had left the flight.
Wagner said that no passengers were selectively taken off the plane.
He said that all of the flight’s passengers had to disembark and that all were welcome to re-board this morning’s flight.
“For us it was a customer dispute,” Wagner said. “We prefer to handle these issues on the ground.”
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