A Muslim woman from New Jersey who once ran for Congress was removed from an American Airlines flight Saturday and arrested after an argument with a male passenger, she claimed on social media.
Amani Al-Khatahtbeh, an activist and blogger who ran unsuccessfully for Congress this year, recounted the incident on Twitter and in a 15-minute Facebook video she took before she was taken off the Charlotte, North Carolina-bound flight.
“The last 6 hours of my life have been draining & traumatizing. Today I got arrested for the first time because a man that insisted he was ‘first class’ felt entitled to blow past me at TSA security, then have me removed from our @AmericanAir flight bc he ‘felt uncomfortable,’” she tweeted Saturday evening.
She then retweeted an image taken by another passenger apparently showing Al-Khatahtbeh being escorted away by authorities.
“Simply flying as a Muslim woman makes people uncomfortable…. unbelievable,” she wrote.
The problem, which forced everyone onboard to disembark at some point, apparently began at a Transportation Security Administration checkpoint at Newark Liberty International Airport as Al-Khatahtbeh was trying to remove her shoes.
“I had the craziest experience in TSA this morning. An entitled white man behind me insisted on cutting me in line because I was ‘still taking my shoes off’,” Al-Khatahtbeh tweeted at 9:18 a.m., not long before her scheduled 9:55 a.m. flight. “When I said he could wait like everyone else, he started going off about how he’s ‘pre check’ and ‘first class’.”
She followed up with another tweet: “Guys he made a complaint about me and @AmericanAir is attempting to remove me from the flight.” She then posted a long video to Facebook from the airplane in which a police officer tells her she is under arrest.
“Literally they called the cops on me,” she said in the clip. “This man in first class made a complaint about me because he cut me in line at TSA and now they literally have police coming to escort me off this flight right now, for no reason, literally taking this man’s word over mine.”
“He made me feel uncomfortable, this man sitting in first class. I’m a veiled Muslim woman on this flight and they’re taking his word for it.”
Al-Khatahtbeh, who did not return to emails from The Post, claimed the man who apparently complained was not removed from the flight.
Port Authority confirmed a person was removed from a flight and taken into police custody, while American Airlines told The Guardian it was “working to understand what occurred.”
The flight took off after an hour’s delay.
The TSA claimed no complaints were made about any passengers at the checkpoint, and deferred any situation on the aircraft itself as an “airline matter.”