2 Jews Kicked Say They Were Kicked Off American Airlines Flight Without Explanation

By Hamodia Staff

(AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

Two Orthodox Jews say they were removed from an American Airlines flight Sunday without explanation.

The website DansDeals reported on the incident, after speaking with the two alleged victims, Reuvi Scheinerman and Yehudah Roffman.

The two bachurim, who live in different Cleveland suburbs and do not know each other, were separately taking Flight 4447 on Sunday from Cleveland to Reagan National Airport in Washington, where they were each to catch connecting flights to their yeshivas, Scheinerman’s in Connecticut and Roffman’s in Far Rockaway, for the new zman.

Scheinerman, an 11th grader, boarded the plane, and, after helping another passenger stow their carry-on bag on the overhead compartment, went directly to his seat in the last row.

But soon after, the gate agent told him to follow him off the plane. Scheinerman dutifully complied. 

“When he was back at the gate he was told to wait while the gate agent closed the doors and sent the flight off,” writes DansDeals. “He asked what happened, to which the gate agent replied that he should know what he did wrong. But he had no clue.

“Back at the gate he met 21 year old Yehudah Roffman for the first time, who had also been ordered off of the flight.”

Earlier, while waiting at the gate to board the plane, Roffman saw what appeared to be a dent in the tail of the plane, and he mentioned this to the flight attendant as he sat down in row 10. Later, when the gate agent was onboard the plane, he went over to that agent and repeated his concern, then sat back down.

Roffman then noticed the pilot speaking with the gate agent at the front of the plane, and he asked the pilot about the dented tail. The pilot simply told him to sit down, without responding to his question. Roffman repeated his concern to the pilot several times, but the pilot would not answer directly, telling him simply to sit down. The gate agent warned Roffman to take his seat and that federal law requires that he listen to crew instructions, and Roffman then sat down.

Five minutes later, the gate agent ordered Roffman off the plane. 

It was then that the crew then pointed to Scheinerman, sitting 13 rows behind Roffman, and ordered him off the plane, too.

Up to this point, Scheinerman and Roffman were unaware of each other’s existence. All they had in common was their dress, the typical garb of a yeshiva bachur: dark pants, suit jacket, and black hat.

Both boys also had “kosher” flip phones, which did not have ability to record the incident.

After they were removed from the plane, none were given explanation about their purported infraction. The gate agent told them, “You know what you did,” and said they would be blacklisted from American Airlines.

Scheinerman asked the gate agent, “Is this anti-Semitism? Why was I removed from this flight?” The agent responded that the pilot had ordered his removal. The agent refused to reveal the pilot’s name.

When Scheinerman reiterated his question as to what he had done wrong, the agent said he did not know, but that the agent must listen to the pilot’s instructions when he orders him to remove a passenger.

The agent then took on a more compassionate tone. He said they wouldn’t be blacklisted after all, and that they could be rebooked on an American flight the following day.

But the boys had no interest in taking another American flight.

Roffman rented a car, drove his new young friend to his yeshiva in Connecticut — arriving at 6:00 a.m. Monday, then continued on to his own yeshiva in Far Rockaway

DansDeals also reported that American Airlines has declined their request for an official comment on the incident.

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