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Man Sues American Airlines Alleging Flight Attendant Kicked Him Off Plane Because He Was Speaking in Russian

Man Sues American Airlines Alleging Flight Attendant Kicked Him Off Plane Because He Was Speaking in Russian

A man is seeking $25 million in compensation from American Airlines after claiming that a flight attendant threw him off a flight last year because he was speaking Russian with his daughter. Boris Abayez of New York believes American Airlines discriminated against him and his family based on their ancestry, country of origin and ethnicity.

The lawsuit was filed earlier this week in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York alleging that American Airlines violated federal anti-bias laws when it allowed one of its flight attendants to subject the Bayez family to discriminatory treatment.

Boris, who is originally from the former Soviet state of Tajikistan, was meant to fly with American Airlines on January 2, 2021, along with his wife and two daughters, but was thrown off the plane before departure over a face mask compliance issue.

The Abayez’s had been visiting family in Phoenix and were due to fly back to New York but Boris claims one of the flight attendants on the flight deliberately targeted him and his family because he overheard them speaking Russian.

As the flight attendants carried out their final cabin check before takeoff, Boris says he went to take his diabetes medication which drew the attention of one of the crew members.

“A male flight attendant saw that I was about to drink my water and he immediately started yelling at me to put my mask back on,” Boris says in the lawsuit. “I told him nicely that I needed to take my pills and would pull my mask up immediately after taking such pills. However, the flight attendant did not care.”

“Instead, he started screaming and yelling at me and began clapping his hands in my face, saying that I am off the flight. While he was clapping his hands in my face, he hit my hand, which caused my pills to be knocked out of my hand.”

The plane returned to the gate and Boris says he was escorted off the plane.

At this point, one of his daughters started crying and became faint. The flight attendant, however, didn’t show any sympathy and instead allegedly told her that if “she did not shut her mouth” then she, too, would also be thrown off the flight.

Ultimately, Boris’ wife and two daughters were allowed to travel but he found himself ‘blacklisted’ by the airline.

“It is clear to me that the flight attendant treated me so abusively because he heard me speaking Russian and wished to inflict harm upon me due to my ancestry, ethnicity, and place of origin,” he complains.

The lawsuit alleges the flight attendant “wrongly and disturbingly surmised that they were foreigners and ‘un- American'”.

Boris is seeking $15 million in compensatory damages for being humiliated, a further $5 million for actual damages and $5 million for punitive damages. The same claim is being made by his daughter who was left in fear after being told by the flight attendant to “shut up”.

In a statement, a spokesperson for American Airlines told us: “American is reviewing the details of the lawsuit.”

“The safety and comfort of our customers are our highest priorities and we’re committed to providing a positive, welcoming experience for everyone who travels with us.”

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