Woman alleges discrimination by Spirit Airlines

Posted at 6:28 PM, Mar 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-10 18:28:09-05

A local Arab-American woman is horrified after she says a Spirit Airlines flight attendant discriminated against her.

Twenty-year-old Nadia Majed says what unfolded after she boarded a flight over the weekend has left her traumatized.

She is claustrophobic and was told she would be accommodated with a window seat, but when she got on the plane, that was not the case - which caused her anxiety.

Nadia says she told the flight attendant about her condition.

“She was fully aware,” said Nadia. “I told her and I told the ticket agent as soon as I got on the plane.”

According to Nadia, when she saw an open window seat, she went to sit in there instead. Nadia says the flight attendant told her to return to her seat and was disrespectful.

According to Nadia, flight attendant’s tone caused her to have a full-blown panic attack. She says security escorted her off the plane.

“I was getting escorted off, there was people wooing. Other people were shocked like, 'She did not deserve to get kicked off the plane' and I was already triggered. I was already crying. I broke out in hives. I was trying to hide back my hyperventilating.”

“The fact that they are Arab-Americans. I think that really played a major in her decision to not hear her cries for help. Her cries to say she cannot breath and that she was having a panic attack,” said Nadia’s attorney, Nabih Ayad.

The Arab American Civil Rights League, or ACRL, has filed a complaint with the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, asking for them to investigate the matter.

The ACRL is outraged by the alleged discrimination Nadia, who comes from a  respected family in the local Arab-American community, has faced. The ACRL says since public figures like Donald Trump have spoken out against Muslims, they have seen more hateful attacks than after 9/11.

“The marginalizing of Arab-Americans is just another example. These plaintiffs are just another example of what’s been transpiring because of the conduct of individuals across the country and the platforms in this country.”

Nadia is not seeking monetary compensation. She just wants the airline to offer racial and cultural sensitivity training to all of their employees.

If the Michigan Department of Civil Rights investigates, it could take anywhere between 4-8 months to complete.