This one flew completely under the news so I’m guessing that one of two things is true: 1) the TSA didn’t want the publicity/scrutiny and charges of profiling; 2) this incident was part of a bigger investigation.
From a former diver for the US Navy who was on the AirTran flight from Atlanta to Houston on November 17, 2009:
I was in 1st class coming home. 11 Muslim men got on the plane in full attire. 2 sat in 1st class and the rest peppered themselves throughout the plane all the way to the back. As the plane taxied to the runway the stewardesses gave the safety spiel we are all so familiar with. At that time, one of the men got on his cell and called one of his companions in the back and proceeded to talk on the phone in Arabic very loudly and very aggressively. This took the 1st stewardess out of the picture for she repeatedly told the man that cell phones were not permitted at the time. He ignored her as if she was not there.
The 2nd man who answered the phone did the same and this took out the 2nd stewardess. In the back of the plane at this time, 2 younger Muslims, one in the back, isle, and one in front of him, window, began to show footage of a porno they had taped the night before, and were very loud about it. Now….they are only permitted to do this prior to Jihad. If a Muslim man goes into a strip club, he has to view the woman via mirror with his back to her. (don’t ask me….I don’t make the rules, but I’ve studied). The 3rd stewardess informed them that they were not to have electronic devices on at this time. To which one of the men said “shut up infidel dog!” She went to take the camcorder and he began to scream in her face in Arabic. At that exact moment, all 11 of them got up and started to walk the cabin. This is where I had had enough! I got up and started to the back where I heard a voice behind me from another Texan twice my size say “I got your back.” I grabbed the man who had been on the phone by the arm and said “you WILL go sit down or you Will be thrown from this plane!” As I “led” him around me to take his seat, the fellow Texan grabbed him by the back of his neck and his waist and headed out with him. I then grabbed the 2nd man and said, “You WILL do the same!” He protested but adrenaline was flowing now and he was going to go. As I escorted him forward the plane doors open and 3 TSA agents and 4 police officers entered. Me and my new Texan friend were told to cease and desist for they had this under control. I was happy to oblige actually. There was some commotion in the back, but within moments, all 11 were escorted off the plane. They then unloaded their luggage.
Go read the whole thing.
I’m sure I’ve got some regular passengers or even a pilot or two who read this space. I would be very interested in any further light you might share on the matter.
Here’s another account of someone who was on the flight in question (PDF). Supposedly, he is to be interviewed on a radio show this morning. Let’s us hope that this interview will either force the TSA to release more information (if the events described are true) or that this matter will be otherwise cleared up.
The details between the two accounts vary quite a bit. One of them was from a person on the plane and the other from someone who was waiting to get on (and then got on after much of the kerfuffle had subsided). I really don’t know where to come down on this, but lacking omniscience I’ll have to wait until I get more evidence.
From the writer of the post above (which included the first person account). Note that this is not the writer of the account, just the relayer:
Just a quick update- Talked to one of the media folks today, they have spoken with the Chaplain and calls him a credible witness, and have a call in to the originator of the email, in addition they are trying to get an interview with AirTran on how a ‘spare’ crew was ready that quickly and why if this was a simple cell phone issue, was the crew replaced.
More as I find it out.
The “Chaplain” referenced here is the one whose PDF I linked to above.