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Pax Says Inflight Nap Was Considered “Concerning Behavior” by Delta Crew

A Muslim passenger, born in Morocco, says that police were summoned to meet him at the gate when he arrived home in New York because of “discrimination against color and race.”

A Delta passenger claims that grabbing a few winks on a Delta Air Lines flight from Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) to LaGuardia Airport (LGA) was enough to trigger a 40-minute police interrogation when his flight arrived at the terminal. Yassine Siqal, a Muslim who was born in Morocco and now calls New York home, says he believes his treatment had less to do with security concerns and more to do with prejudice.

“I will never forget this day,” the 30-year-old told the Daily News. “All this interrogation, all these questions. Then the police officer realized that this is nothing more than just discrimination against color and race.”

According to Siqal, the flight attendant first decided his behavior was suspicious after catching him yawning during the flight. The flight attendant (who has likely seen tired flyers prior to this flight) was concerned enough to ask him if he was okay. Both Siqal and his girlfriend assured the cabin crew member that everything was fine and that Siqal was simply a bit sleepy.

When Siqal nodded off during the hour-and-a-half-long flight, however, he says the flight attendant inexplicably told him to change seats. The Astoria-based waiter says that he declined the offer, preferring instead to stay in his assigned seat near his fiancée, but when officers met him at the gate, he learned that his in-flight behavior raised a red flag.

Siqal’s travel companion and bride-to-be says there was nothing unusual about his in-flight behavior. Physician Darejan Gogiberidze also believes that her boyfriend was unfairly targeted. “It was embarrassing to be in that situation and for doing what? Yawning and sleeping on the airplane or just for being a Muslim?” the 34-year-old told journalists after the flight.

ExpressJet, which operates the CLT to LGA flight for Delta insists that it was Yassine Siqal’s own actions on the flight that led to crew members alerting authorities on the ground. Although the company says that the circumstances of the incident remain under investigation, the airline released a statement supporting the crew members involved.

“Our crew, operating Delta Connection flight 5378 from Charlotte to New York City, made the decision to contact law enforcement officials based on their observance of concerning behaviors by the passenger toward his seat companion, including physical actions and verbal tones,” an ExpressJet spokesperson told the newspaper in the statement. “At ExpressJet, we train our crews to use their professional experience and practice best judgment to ensure the safety of all of our customers. While we regret the inconvenience caused to the passengers, the safety and security of everyone on board is our top priority and cannot be compromised.”

Meanwhile, Siqal has reportedly hired New York-based personal injury attorney Marc Albert who says he will be pursuing legal actions against the airline. “He does not want this to happen to others and he thinks it’s disgraceful that he and his girlfriend had to go through it and he wants Delta to investigate what happened and acknowledge that it did happen,” Albert told reporters.

[Photo: Shutterstock]

Comments are Closed.
dream77boy June 2, 2017

US FAs should all be sent for a course on refreshing their customer service skills and stop being so edgy on flights. Next thing you know, they will be alerting the police if u ask for too much ice in your drinks.

ioto1902 May 31, 2017

It's word against word. By the way, what did United say about Doctor Dao ? They removed him because he was "disruptive and belligerent". So, Siqal had physical actions and verbal tones. Yeah. Sure. Nowadays, airlines can offload anyone, just by giving as an excuse that pax was "uncooperative", or that he made other pax "uncomfortable". That reminds me of some countries that put in prison anyone who "disturbs public peace". A great tool for fascism.

corbetti May 31, 2017

FWM is now a crime enforceable by summoning the authorities.

Boogie711 May 31, 2017

I STRONGLY suspect that Mr Sleepyhead was doing way more than quietly sleeping in order to draw attention to the point he was met by police. Flight attendants deal with sleepy passengers all day, in every age, race, shape, orientation, colour and creed. They PREFER that you sleep, for goodness sake! I'm waiting for the day every airline installs CC Cameras on board, so that when an attention-seeking troublemaker makes headlines, the airline can simply post a copy of the video.