Two women in Islamic attire were removed from a JetBlue flight 487 on Saturday after landing for allegedly filming the cabin crew. They were both arrested by the Police and escorted off the aircraft.
The arrest was posted online by a Wired journalist Mark Frauenfelder whose friend, Sharon Kessler, was on the same flight as the women but the video has since been made private after it went viral.
The airline has denied the women were ejected because of their presumed religion and says it was it simply paying “due diligence” to security procedures.
Footage of the event, which has now been made private, was posted online by former Wired journalist Mark Frauenfelder.
According to Frauenfelder, Kessler, in a facebook post said that she “overheard a flight attendant tell a co-worker that she didn’t like the way two Muslim women were staring back at her.”
Kessler said that the crew member told another member that “she didn’t appreciate being stared at – she did not seem rattled or scared – just smug,”.
“It was a terrible moment, honestly. These women sat quietly, watched movies – it felt like overkill from this flight attendant.”
JetBlue in a press statement denied that the removal of the wmone was because of their religion.
A spokesman said the same thing would have happened to anyone who filmed the crew and had also occurred in the past:
“This happened on arrival at LAX and did not impact the customers more than they had to wait a couple of seconds before getting off the plane.
“My understanding is that the two women who were addressed by local law enforcement were also allowed to go on their way.”
“More than 35 million customers from many cultures and backgrounds travel on JetBlue without incident each year.
“Our crewmembers’ first priority is the safe and secure operation of our flights and as a security precaution, are asked to be aware of anyone who may be filming or taking photographs of inflight procedures or the flight deck area.
“If a crewmember believes a customer may be filming safety procedures, the crewmember may report it for further review.”
“In this instance, our crewmembers acted in accordance with security procedures. We appreciate our customers’ patience and cooperation, and apologise for the inconvenience.”
The police were responding to a report from cabin crew that the women were recording “sensitive inflight activities,” the spokesman added, saying the response was a standard security procedure.
“We have to do due diligence to make sure everyone is on the up and up,” he said.