Passenger Says Delta Air Removed Him From Plane for Speaking Arabic

NEW YORK (Reuters) —

Delta Air Lines, Inc., removed two men from a plane at London’s Heathrow Airport before takeoff on Wednesday, and one of the men accused the airline of acting on passenger complaints that he had been speaking on a phone in Arabic.

Adam Saleh, a Muslim American, appeared in a Twitter video retweeted more than 440,000 times. Speaking from the plane, he said: “We’re getting kicked out because we spoke a different language…Six white people against us bearded men.”

It was not immediately clear what took place before the recording began. Saleh has posted what he calls “experiment” videos in the past showing him speaking Arabic on planes.

In a statement, Delta said two customers were removed from Delta Flight 1 after a disturbance in the cabin prompted more than 20 customers to express their discomfort.

The airline said it spoke to the two passengers it removed and rebooked them. Delta said it would speak with the crew and other passengers when the flight landed at New York’s Kennedy Airport on Wednesday afternoon.

It said the airline had an obligation to ensure a safe environment and promised an update once it had more information.

“We take all allegations of discrimination seriously and we are gathering all of the facts before jumping to any conclusion. Our culture requires treating everyone with respect,” the statement said.

Airlines have in recent months battled negative publicity over incidents in which Muslim passengers were removed from flights.

In November, a supporter of President-elect Donald Trump was allowed to stay on a domestic U.S. flight after going on an expletive-filled rant. He was later slapped with a lifetime ban from Delta flights.

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