June 18, 2013
N.Y. yeshiva: Decision to boot students from plane ill conceived, not anti-Semitic
The decision to eject the senior class of the Yeshivah of Flatbush in Brooklyn from a flight was not anti-Semitic, an internal school report found.
AirTran Airways “abused its discretion” in forcing the 101 students off the early morning flight June 3 to their senior trip in Atlanta, according to the report authored by the yeshiva’s executive director, Rabbi Seth Linfield.
The report was obtained by the Times of Israel and reported on Tuesday.
Flight attendants said the students did not stay seated and continued to use their mobile devices in advance of takeoff, despite their requests as well as from the captain.
The report found that students erred by not turning off their cellphones.
“At no time did the students disrespect the flight crew in words or tone — beyond not immediately complying with the directives… to turn off all electronic devices,” the report said, according to the Times of Israel.
The yeshiva’s report said the airline crew rejected offers of assistance from the seven school chaperones in controlling the students.
The report opined that the reason the story was picked up by so many news outlets was the claim that anti-Semitism drove the decision to remove the students from the plane.
It included an apology to AirTran, a subsidiary of Southwest Airlines, “to the extent that any of our students behaved in a way that was perceived by the flight crew to be disrespectful or disobedient.”
The airline was praised for giving vouchers to the students to continue on to Atlanta and working to rebook them. Students traveled on several flights, some taking up to 12 hours to meet up with the group.
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