Actually, it was — you guessed it! — racism. And, of course, they’re suing.
Note also that they were returning home after providing training for the U.S. Marines. Now certainly I myself would be annoyed if I had been training Marines and was then detained and my flight canceled, but the very impulses that had led me to train the Marines would lead me to accept the inconvenience of my canceled flight.
“Six men on canceled Lindbergh flight sue American Airlines,” by Debbi Farr Baker in the San Diego Union-Tribune (thanks to Witness to Jihad):
SAN DIEGO — Six men of Middle Eastern descent contend American Airlines violated their civil rights in canceling their flight from San Diego last August after crew members told the captain they were alarmed by the men.
They filed a lawsuit against the airline Thursday asking for hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages for what they claim were hours of detainment, interrogation, public humiliation and embarrassment. They also accuse the airline of false imprisonment and racial profiling.
The men were traveling to Chicago August 28 on a flight scheduled to depart Lindbergh Field at 11 p.m.
The men, who all live in Michigan, were returning home after providing training for U.S. Marines. They were employed by an Alaska-based defense contractor that works with the U.S. military.
According to a report filed by the Harbor Police Department, which patrols the airport, the flight crew raised concerns about the men due to what they called “suspicious behavior.”
A woman traveling with her two small children felt so uncomfortable about the men she asked to get off the plane. Another passenger who noticed the men before boarding and then struck up a conversation with one of them also reported to an attendant that he felt they were somewhat suspicious.
The flight attendants told police that the men were staring angrily at them and everyone else on board. One of the flight attendants said he had a “gut feeling and discomfort” and “needed to do something” about the men, who were all seated in different areas of the plane.
The crew went to the pilot with their concerns and the flight was later canceled….