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Dublin: 2°C Tuesday 18 January 2022

Airline says man who claimed he was thrown off plane for speaking Arabic was just trying to 'disrupt' flight

Adam Saleh’s tweet, in which he claimed he and a friend were thrown off the flight for speaking Arabic, has been retweeted nearly 800,000 times.

yt Adam Saleh Source: Youtube

DELTA AIRLINES HAS claimed that a Youtube prankster who said he was ejected from one of their flights for speaking Arabic was simply being disruptive.

Yemeni-American Adam Saleh, who has nearly 1,200 Youtube uploads to his name, had said that he and his friend Slim Albaher were asked to leave the London-to-New York flight yesterday morning following an unspecified “disturbance”.

“We spoke a different language on the plane, and now we’re getting kicked out,” the 23-year-old prankster, who has more than 2.2 million YouTube followers, said in a video filmed as the incident unfolded, and posted on Twitter.

After initially saying it was investigating allegations of discrimination, Delta has now contradicted Saleh’s version of events in a strongly-worded statement suggesting that “the customers who were removed sought to disrupt the cabin with provocative behavior, including shouting”.

“This type of conduct is not welcome on any Delta flight,” the statement reads.

While one, according to media reports, is a known prankster who was video recorded and encouraged by his travelling companion, what is paramount to Delta is the safety and comfort of our passengers and employees.

“It is clear these individuals sought to violate that priority.”

If you cannot view this video, click here.

Saleh said he had been talking to his mother on the phone when fellow passengers complained, and he was told to leave.

“You guys are racists,” he said. “I spoke a different language and you say you feel uncomfortable! I can’t believe my eyes. We spoke a different language and now there are six white people against us bearded men.”

Several passengers could be seen voicing their support for Saleh, with one calling out the airline staff in protest, but others at the rear of the aircraft seemed to approve, waving him off and saying “goodbye”.

After an hours-long delay involving more security checks, Saleh said he was finally able to board a flight to New York with a different airline – and would head straight to see his lawyer.

Saleh’s video had been retweeted more than 700,000 times by Wednesday evening, and the hashtag #BoycottDelta – which he included in a subsequent tweet – was trending on Twitter.

It was the latest of several cases in the past year in which passengers have run into trouble on American flights for speaking Arabic – or in one case, for writing mathematical equations passengers mistook for Arabic.

Last month, Delta banned for life a man who had loudly expressed support for President-elect Donald Trump on a flight from Atlanta to Allentown, Pennsylvania.

Saleh’s YouTube site posts videos of hidden-camera scenarios and other pranks.

“Yes we’re pranksters and it sounds like the boy who cried wolf,” he tweeted last night, “but today you can see it’s as real as it gets.”

Additional reporting Cianan Brennan

© – AFP, 2016

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