Seth Stein is an architect who travels around a lot working for wealthy clients. On May 22nd flight to New York Mr. Stein suddenly found himself pinned to his seat by a supposed off-duty police officer who put him into a headlock while flight staff looked on. Just what was the reason this person thought he might be a terrorist?
“This man could have garrotted me and what was awful was that one or two of the passengers went up afterwards to thank him,” said Mr Stein. He has since been told by airline staff he was targeted because he was using an iPod, had used the toilet when he got on the plane and that his tan made him appear “Arab”. [Link]
So don’t own an iPod and use the plane’s toilet while sporting a tan or you too may find yourself being physically accosted as a terrorist. But wait, it gets better.
“This guy just told me his name was Michael Wilk, that he was with the New York Police Department, that I’d been acting suspiciously and should stay calm. I could barely find my voice and couldn’t believe it was happening,” said Mr Stein.
“He went into my pocket and took out my passport and my iPod. All the other passengers were looking concerned.” Eventually, cabin crew explained that the captain had run a security check on Mr Stein after being alerted by the policeman and that this had cleared him. The passenger had been asked to go back to his seat before he had restrained Mr Stein. When the plane arrived in New York, Mr Stein was met by apologetic police officers who offered to fast-track him out of the airport.
Mr Stein said: “The other passengers looked [at] me and said, ‘What did you do?’ It was so humiliating. The fact is he [the police officer] was told I was OK and should have left me alone. The airline had a duty of care. I’ve got to travel to the US soon, but I’m paying an extra £500 to travel in business class.”
The air crew cleared him and yet this asshat still put him into a headlock? What the hell? The airline is also engaging in much ass-hattery.
American Airlines apologised to Mr Stein, who was born in New York, but withdrew an initial offer of $2,000 compensation on the grounds it would be an admission of liability. In a letter dated 30 May, the airline said it had done everything possible to try and protect Mr Stein.
It read: “Unfortunately, as in any public gathering, there may be occasions when a conflict arises between people or when one individual’s actions bother another… As our crew members may not always be witness to the inappropriate acts of a particular passenger, there may be a limit to what our crews can do to improve behaviour that is perceived as a nuisance.”
Give me a fucking break. This is just getting ridiculous. It’s only a matter of time before someone ends up killing an innocent person because they were “suspicious.”