Last night, a flight from Charlotte to Washington was delayed five hours when the pilot forced them off the plane.
About 5 p.m., the pilot of US Airways Flight 1768 asked officers to help remove a group of people from the plane because of a "perceived security concern," according to a statement Friday from the federal Transportation Security Administration.
The pilot pointed out the concern "out of an abundance of caution," a US Airways spokeswoman said Friday.
However, the TSA and local law enforcement determined that there was no threat. Apparently the pilot refused to fly with them on the plane even after all baggage was rescreened, because US Airways had to get an entirely new crew. By the time everything was sorted out, it was 9:30 pm. The plane arrived at National Airport without incident.
Needless to say, the students want some answers.
"We want an apology and an explanation to why they took us off the plane and then left us there," Yaqoob Al-Shamsi, one of the passengers removed from the flight, told ABC7 News. "We were emotionally hurt. We want them to tell people that they didn't do anything."
Other members of the group said that authorities questioned them on their purpose for visiting Washington, where they were from and if they had previous military training or experience.
"We were told to get our bags and leave the plane," Hadef Al-Dhaheri said. "I only saw my friends being taken off. They picked certain people.
"We have a purpose here. I felt so bad because they treated us differently than others. We didn't expect this treatment from them."
This is the second time this year that a flight going to or from Charlotte has been involved in a "flying while Arab" incident. Back in May, two Memphis imams on their way to an anti-Islamophobia conference in Charlotte were ordered off the plane by the pilot. As with this latest flight, the imams were allowed to go to Charlotte after they were determined not to be a threat.