Posted by Nadia Aziz on April 21, 2016 in Blog

Screen_Shot_2016-04-21_at_4.27.27_PM.pngReports of discrimination against Arab Americans and American Muslims on flights have become so common they are becoming comical, literally. Major outlets online and on air are now using the incidents as skit material. (Well worth checking out if you haven’t already.) But one U.S. Senator doesn’t see the incidents as a laughing matter and we agree. 

Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) has written to President and CEO of Airlines for American (A4A), the trade organization representing U.S. based airlines.

Expressing concern over several reports of bias against Arab American and American Muslim passengers, Durbin, the second-ranking Senate Democrat and member of the Judiciary Committee, wrote:

“Airlines are entrusted with enormous responsibilities to keep our skies safe while respecting the rights of all passengers. No airline passenger should be subject to discriminatory treatment on the basis of the passenger’s religion or ethnicity.”

Senator Durbin outlines three cases involving incidents where Arab and/or Muslim passengers were either ordered to exit the plane or refused service. One case involved Southwest Airlines, and two incidents involved United Airlines.

Airlines for America has nine member airlines including Southwest Airlines and United Airlines - both of which have contributed to A4A’s Political Action Committee.

Senator Durbin’s letter requested specific responses on how A4A and its member airlines planned to investigate and prevent incidents of discrimination. He also requested information on  diversity and nondiscrimination trainings that member airlines may have for their employees.

Although they have not specifically responded to Durbin’s request as of yet, A4A stated that they look forward to reviewing Durbin’s concerns.