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Man thanks Aer Lingus for removing passenger over his "unacceptable" behaviour towards Muslims

As one of the crew said “We are all equal”, wrote the man.

A MAN WHO says he witnessed a fellow passenger being removed from an Aer Lingus flight over his behaviour towards Muslims has thanked the airline for taking action.

In a Facebook post that was widely shared, Khalid Wafiq Kamel, who is Muslim, told Aer Lingus he was impressed with how they dealt with the situation.

I was on Aer Lingus 0330 flight this morning from Dublin to Berlin. Before taking off, a passenger showed an abusive behaviour against two other Muslim passengers. The crew reacted promptly to stop him, and the offending passenger was removed from the flight. I would like to send a special Thank You to Captain O’Shea and the rest of the crew for making my day. As a Muslim, I felt safe and respected being in Ireland and on Aer Lingus. As one of the crew said ‘We are all equal’. Thank you Aer Lingus

14715662_10154482409520446_4353177471356214265_o The photo that Kamel shared on Facebook. Source: Facebook

Kamel’s post has since been shared over 1,460 times.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, he explained more about what happened on the flight. “When we were waiting to take off, I saw a man standing in the aisle and talking to two passengers dressed in a traditional Islamic costume. They were sitting two rows ahead of me, I couldn’t hear what they were saying,” he said.

“[A] crew member approached the man and said: “You have to go to your seat now”. The man didn’t respond to her, and immediately after that, a senior crew member asked the man to go to the very end of the plane to talk to him privately. Few minutes later, both came back and the man took his handbag from the overhead storage area and left the plane.”

The gardaí were not involved in taking the man off the plane, said Kamel. “Everything seemed to be happening smoothly.” He said that the passengers’ reaction didn’t go beyond looking cautiously at what was going on, while there weren’t any raised voices.

The captain then announced that “unfortunately one of the passengers had to be removed from the flight because of their inappropriate behaviour, and we have to wait until his luggage is removed as well”.

The crew came later and apologised to the offended passengers about what happened.

Kamel said that he was surprised at “the strict decision of removing the offending passenger from the flight, with all the consequent delay that may happen”.

“The maximum that I would [have] expected to happen was that the offending passenger will be asked to sit far away from those two passengers and to be prohibited from approaching them again,” he said.

Kamel was impressed with the airline’s reaction: “After the Captain’s announcement, I was very pleased, and I planned to thank the crew for their prompt reaction to make sure all passengers are equally safe and comfortable.”

On arrival in Berlin, he spoke to Captain Donal O’Shea and the crew before leaving the plane to tell them how grateful he was “for their action and brave decision”.

And also how much I felt that they are treating people equally with no discrimination based on background or beliefs. It was only based on attitude and behaviour.

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Kamel said that the captain described the removed passenger’s behaviour as “totally unacceptable”.

“The whole thing made me very happy and wanted to thank Aer Lingus for their fair attitude towards the passengers in spite of their backgrounds,” said Kamel of his Facebook post. “I thought this is the best way to do it, as Aer Lingus magazine already encouraged passengers to post their flight experience with a photo.”

The reaction of the public was absolutely astonishing and very positive, which quite reflects the welcoming attitude of the Irish people in general. This also sent a very strong message to other airlines which reacted in a completely unfair way to similar situations.

In response to his Facebook post, the airline thanked Kamel for his kind words, saying:

We’re so sorry to hear that this took place but we’re glad that the crew handled the situation well. We look forward to welcoming you on board a flight again in the near future.

TheJournal.ie asked Aer Lingus for more details on the incident, but the airline said it does not comment on specific incidents of this nature.

“Our crew are fully trained to deal with disruptive incidents that may arise on board our aircraft and do so according to our operational procedures,” said a statement from Aer Lingus.

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