Southwest Airlines discriminated against a Muslim woman from Texas because she wore a hijab.
Fatima Altakrouri told CN News that she was denied a seat in an emergency evacuation row while her sister, who was not wearing a veil, was allowed.
On May 22, they were traveling from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to Dallas, Texas. Altakrouri and her sister, Muna Kowni, saw that the emergency evacuation row had the plane’s last two seats next to each other.
Altakrouri claimed that she asked a flight attendant whether she may seat there and was told no.
According to a release on Altakrouri’s complaint from the Dallas-Fort Worth chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, she overheard a flight attendant claim she “couldn’t speak English and would bring the whole plane down in an emergency.”
‘She speaks English,’ I told her twice,’ Kowni told USA Today. “In front of her, she has spoken English.”
Altakrouri has filed a complaint with the Department of Transportation, according to numerous news sites.
Southwest Airlines did not respond to a request for comment from Insider right away. Internal records “do not substantiate statements made by the passenger regarding comments or judgments being made based on appearance,” spokeswoman Brandy King told USA Today.
“The safety of our passengers is important,” King stated, “and those situated in an exit row are required to verbally confirm that they are capable of performing particular duties in flight.”
“Our crew was responsible for obtaining such confirmation from a passenger prior to placing them in an overwing escape row, but they were unable to do so during boarding. As a result, the Crew offered her an alternate seat as a courtesy.”
Southwest has been chastised in the past for suspected discriminatory practices.
Southwest, for example, apologized to a 22-year-old woman who was denied boarding on a trip to Chicago because she was wearing a “lewd, obscene, and insulting” top.