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Passengers Booted From Flight At LAX Accuse Airline Of Discrimination

A Spirit Airlines plane at LAX (Photo by Aero Icarus via the Creative Commons on Flickr)
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Seven passengers were kicked off a flight at LAX and some of them are now accusing the airline of racial discrimination. The onboard incident began around 7:15 p.m on Monday on a Spirit Airlines flight that was preparing to depart for Dallas from L.A. According to the L.A. Times, an African American couple was asked by the flight crew to move to different seats when they found that another woman had been overbooked in one of their seats. After moving, the male passenger became angry and a flight attendant accused the man of causing a disturbance and being a threat, reports ABC 7. The couple was asked to leave the plane, but they reportedly refused. LAX police were then called to the scene, and after speaking with the couple, the pair agreed to leave the plane and were booked on another flight.

Following the couple's departure, however, five other passengers, also African American, became upset about the incident and began to complain to the flight crew, Officer Rob Pedregon, an airport police spokesman told the Times. As the group—who were not connected to the original couple—continued to raise objections, attendants reportedly asked them to stop because they were causing a disturbance. At that point the plane's captain asked them to leave the flight. The passengers left the plane, but claim they were not given a proper explanation as to why.

"We were told we had to leave the flight because we were considered a threat," passenger Ty Walker told NBC LA. "We asked, 'What constitutes a threat?' We never raised our voice, we never cursed, we never did anything."

Passenger Alexandria Wright told CBS LA that the group was singled out and kicked off the plane because they were African American.

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“I’m really humiliated just for the simple fact that you hear about this type of stuff happening in America, discrimination issues and stuff like that, but to actually experience it first-hand,” Wright explains. “It was more than just us having the conversation. Why is that six black people got kicked off the plane?”

Another passenger, Tyler Grosso, tweeted a photo of the incident:

The group was booked on another flight, according to the Times. No one was arrested or cited.

Pedregon told the Times that none of the passengers indicated to police that they were kicked off the flight because they were black. “It was just a business dispute,” he explains. “It was a service issue.”