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June 4, 2013 2:50 pm

101 Jewish Students Kicked Off Flight, Group Says Airline Overreacted

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101 students were kicked off an Air Tran plane Monday because they were disruptive, not because they were Jewish, airline says. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

JNS.org After 101 students from the Yeshivah of Flatbush Joel Braverman High School in Brooklyn, as well as their eight chaperones, were kicked off an AirTran flight departing to Atlanta for their senior class trip on Monday, those involved claim the group was unfairly targeted. “They treated us like we were terrorists,” student Jonathan Zehavi told CNN.

Southwest Airlines, which managed the AirTran flight, called the group of students “non-compliant passengers.” But teacher Marian Wielgus said the flight attendants were “nasty” and overreacted to a few chatty kids, while most of the group was cooperative. “I think if it was a group of non-religious kids, the air stewardess wouldn’t have dared to kick them off,” Zehavi said.

The students had refused to stay seated and turn off their mobile devices when asked. “Both are violations of federal air regulations, as well as our policies,” Southwest spokeswoman Whitney Eichinger said, according to the New York Daily News. “The sole reason these customers were removed from the aircraft was due to their behavior. Anything otherwise is unfounded and offensive,” she added.

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  • Ms. Redhead

    Monday at 3:45 AM at Laguradia air port in New York , I had the unfortunate experience for 1 1/2 hours being 2-5 ft at any given time from these teenagers.
    I am going to tell it like it is!
    Their behavior was unequivocally the worst I have ever seen. They were rude, brazen,audacious ,offensive,disrespectful ,showed poor character and had no dicipline or self control. Regardless of their religious beliefs they had no decorum . At no time did any of my group (4) see any chaperones . If they were there , they were acting as bad as the teenagers . In fact they acted as if they were at a theme park waiting on the next joy ride.
    I am a parent and my son is a couple of years older than the majority in this group.
    The parents should be ashamed and embarrassed that their children acted in this manner.
    The teens need to learn BAD ACTIONS = Consequences . Obviously no one has taught them this until now.
    Consequences 101

  • Jonathan

    I think to get the real story of what went on, you have to get the opinions of some of the other passengers on the plane. So far only one has come forward and claimed about ten students were unruly, switching seats, and refusing to shut off their cell phones and that they were warned several times. Obviously one witness is not enough.

    • Ms. Redhead

      Monday at 3:45 AM at Laguradia air port in New York , I had the unfortunate experience for 1 1/2 hours being 2-5 ft at any given time from these teenagers.
      I am going to tell it like it is!
      Their behavior was unequivocally the worst I have ever seen. They were rude, brazen,audacious ,offensive,disrespectful ,showed poor character and had no dicipline or self control. Regardless of their religious beliefs they had no decorum . At no time did any of my group (4) see any chaperones . If they were there , they were acting as bad as the teenagers . In fact they acted as if they were at a theme park waiting on the next joy ride.
      I am a parent and my son is a couple of years older than the majority in this group.
      The parents should be ashamed and embarrassed that their children acted in this manner.
      The teens need to learn BAD ACTIONS = Consequences . Obviously no one has taught them this until now.
      Consequences 101

  • As Jewish former school teacher for several decades, I know- without being there – what that group of kids must have been like: non-stop talking. Probably no one took the time to tell these kids in advance that once inside the plane, they have to sit down and shut up ike everyone else…their special treatment ends the moment they board that plane. And now that they screwed themselves right off the pplane, they’re going to cry foul. Now, it wasn’t because they were jews that they were thrown off the plane…it’s because they didn’t SHUT UP.

    BEEN THERE, DONE THAT!!

    Betcha next time they get on a plane, they’ll behave!!

    I

  • Anti-Semitism?

    I received notice that I have been banned from the Huffington Post. I checked my postings; they do not include inappropriate language as others do . If any thing I may have commented too often. Your reporter did a story on me when I was president of Rabbis for Romney. I enjoy the discussions and postings on your site and would appreciate an explanation. The only thing I can think of is that I posted against the Holocaust Claims Conference as well as Rabbi Schreier and Muslims touring Auschwitz. If the Muslims complained, there was no foul language and as a child of Holocaust survivors I can speak out against extremist Muslims who are against Israel and America . I do not want those extremists praying for my dead siblings and other relatives at Auschwitz. It was the Mufti of Jerusalem who was in charge of an SS division for the Nazis. Is there anything here that would warrant my being banned. Please have the courtesy to email me.

    Rabbi Dr. Bernhard Rosenberg

  • Mel

    With the highly-selectively political-correctness spewing from the Obama/Holder Justice Department, there is an even chance the flight crew would have been prosecuted for hate crimes had the students been Black or Muslim, rather than Jewish. That fact does not excuse the behavior of the students, nor the attitude of the chaperones.
    Right or wrong, constitutional or unconstitutional, legal or illegal, Torah-observant Jews (like the State of Israel) should expect to be held to a higher standard than non-Torah-observant goyim.

    Americans visiting foreign nations are expected to obey the laws of their hosts, leaving their constitutional rights behind. Like the ignorant Jewish-American teen who complained his arrest by Israeli police officers for inciting a Muslim riot violated his First Amendment right of Free Speech, Diaspora Jews need Reality Checks. Yeshiva students and chaperones must know what behavior will and will not be tolerated on an airliner before they arrive at the airport, let alone board the aircraft. Unless the students were mentally challenged, there is no excuse for such defiance. I doubt El Al flights tolerate such behavior either.

  • JB Silver

    The question is, were ANY students disruptive and refusing to stay seated and turn off their mobile devices?
    If so, the airline was TOTALLY CORRECT, and whoever used the ‘Anti-Semitism card’, should not only be ashamed of themselves; they should be shamed in their community, and punished for libeling the staff of the airline.
    If not, then this is a problem.
    I have flown the length and breadth of the USA over the last 45 years; I wear a kipa, and have NEVER experienced anti-semitism from staff (or others) on a flight.
    JB Silver

  • Richard

    OK, this is is easy. First, on average, what group of younger people don’t think older ones are “too stringent”, “too strict” about rules, etc? Second, flying has become so common place and the accident rates so low, that younger folk don’t understand why the rules are necessary, and have been put in place to save THEIR lives, after previous incidents have shown that they would have been helpful. Third, there is plenty of evidence that younger folk (AND adults) think that using computers, cell phones, and all their variants is OK whether they’re in a plane or car, despite LAWS against doing so (ask Alec Baldwin). Fourth, how many people , young or old, think that a lot of rules do NOT apply to them? (See above). Fifth, how many parents think that their little precious ones are NOT the trouble makers they really are? Sixth, what has happened to our society when the so called chaperones, instead of first preventing the younger folks from getting out of hand and obeying the rules in the first place, and then helping the flight crew contol them after they started disobeying the rules, actually take the side of the “disobedients”? And finally, seventh, where has it been lost on younger and older folk alike that the Captain is the ABSOLUTE AUTHORITY on his vessel?

    Anyone who is on the kids side on this is WRONG!

  • GAON

    Boycott Southwest, and short the stock , ticker symbol “LUV”. They really LUV their customers, how appropriate

  • Lou kaplan

    I agree with airline. These people are using their religion as an excuse for special privilege. Their answer is as arrogant as their on board behavior. Rather than being an example of best behavior they are an embarrassment. Shame on all of you.

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