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7 fliers kicked off Spirit Airlines plane blame racism

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Updated: Tuesday, November 3, 2015, 8:06 AM

Cell phone footage captured by a passenger shows police speaking with the first traveler asked to leave Spirit Airlines Flight 868.CBS LA

Cell phone footage captured by a passenger shows police speaking with the first traveler asked to leave Spirit Airlines Flight 868.

Seven African-American passengers were booted from a Spirit Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Dallas-Fort Worth International Monday, raising concerns that the flight crew discriminated against them because of their race.

Los Angeles Airport police officers initially escorted just one couple off Flight 868 shortly after 7:15 p.m. local time because a white flight attendant accused a male traveler of being disruptive when he refused to get up from his seat.

“It’s a business dispute,” LAX police spokesman Rob Pedregon told the Daily News. “It’s up to (Spirit) to define what is disruptive.”

Five more passengers were asked to leave after allegedly questioning the flight crew’s motives in kicking the couple off the flight. All seven passengers were African-American.

“They were talking about the incident and making assumptions and were asked to leave at that point,” Pedregon said, refusing to respond to allegations that the airline discriminated against the passengers.

The ordeal left some passengers stranded in Los Angeles for at least three hours.

“It was more than just us having a conversation,” Alexandria Wright, one of the booted passengers, told KCAL-TV. “Why is it that, what, six black people get kicked off the plane?”

A handful of passengers forced to leave Spirit Airlines Flight 868 stayed at the Los Angeles International Airport for several hours Monday night. CBS LA

A handful of passengers forced to leave Spirit Airlines Flight 868 stayed at the Los Angeles International Airport for several hours Monday night. 

No officers were on the plane when the second group disembarked.

The flight left Los Angeles International Airport without the seven travelers at 8:17 p.m., but not before fellow passengers tweeted photos of the confrontation and accused Spirit Airlines of being racist.

Passengers claim the flight had been overbooked, KCAL-TV reported.

The airline did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

None of the passengers face criminal charges, but they stayed at the airport while waiting for their flights to be rebooked. The airline handed out hotel vouchers to those passengers, officers at the gate told Pedregon.

“I’m really humiliated just of the simple fact that you hear about this kind of stuff in America, you know, discrimination issues,” Wright added. “But to actually experience it first hand?”

nhensley@nydailynews.com

Tags:
los angeles ,
california ,
discrimination


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