Since September 11, 2001, the unlawful profiling of airline passengers on the basis of race or religion has become disturbingly common. Passengers have been removed from flights for, among other reasons, speaking Arabic, completing a math equation, or “staring at” a flight attendant. In each case, police and airline officials eventually concluded that the individuals posed no threat to the airline or its passengers.
These incidents and countless others not only violate federal law, but also send a message to victims that they are second-class passengers. Muslims and people of color – like all other law-abiding travelers – should be able to travel for any purpose without being discriminated against because of their appearance or personal religious beliefs.
As a means of ensuring that race or religion is never considered, LDF continues to call on all airlines to implement comprehensive anti-bias training on an annual basis for any and all staff members that interact with the public. Additionally, LDF calls on the United States Department of Transportation to thoroughly investigate all discrimination complaints on airlines and, if substantiated, require airlines to take immediate and effective remedial action.