The father of two Muslim boys has filed lawsuit in a Maryland court against Delta Air Lines and its chief executive Ed Bastian claiming that the removal of his sons from a 2019 Delta flight was both “malicious” and “callous”.
Hisham Kassab claims that flight attendants, gate agents and even other passengers made false claims against him and his sons who were only 7 and 11 years old at the time they were ejected from the Delta Air flight.
The Kassab’s claim that it is “possible that discriminatory attitudes played a role in the false claims”. The two boys, Ibrahim and Karim Kassab are Muslim and of “Middle Eastern origin”.
Court documents filed in the District Court of Marland claim Hisham and his son; Ibrahim and Karim were traveling home from a trip to Rome, Italy and were boarding a connecting flight in Atlanta to take them to Baltimore.
While lining up on the jetbridge, Hisham says he had a discussion with a Delta Air staffer who was being “cantankerous” with him.
They were allowed to board the aircraft but shortly afterwards a second airline worker asked them to deplane without giving any explanation. As they stepped off the aircraft, the door was swiftly shut, and the aircraft pushed back from the gate without them onboard.
The lawsuit alleges that the Captain made the decision to have them removed from the flight because the gate agent, flight attendant and other passengers all alleged that Hashim used profanities in his conversation with the gate agent.
Hashim denies using profanities at any point and says he was never given an opportunity to defend himself.
“The plaintiffs are of Middle Eastern origin and are Muslims,” the complaint explains. “In the opinion of Plaintiff Hisham Kassab, it is possible that discriminatory attitudes played a role in the false claims (of uttering profanity) against him and/or the decision to have the Plaintiffs removed from the airplane.”
Lawyers acting on behalf of Delta have acted swiftly to get the lawsuit which was only filed on Wednesday removed, with documents filed in court stating that the Atlanta-based carrier intends to defend itself against the claims.
Amongst a slew of defenses that the airline intends to use, lawyers say that the lawsuit might be precluded by the Montreal Convention. The airline is also demanding strict proof of Hisham’s claims and lawyers say Hisham has so far failed to state a claim that would allow him to claim compensation.
Delta Air Lines was contacted for comment.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.