October 4, 2001
How to Fly if you look Middle Eastern
Sam Kermanian has drawn our attention to a list of travel tips for Iranian Jews and others of "Middle Eastern" appearance, who might be fingered as potential Arab hijackers by nervous airline passengers.
Short of "bleaching our faces and dyeing our hair blond," the president of the Iranian American Jewish Federation advises:
Get your seat as far back as you can on the airplane. Being close to the cockpit is a bad sign. This means forget about first and business class. You can't impress them by your money anymore.
When you go to the washroom, always go toward the rear toilets. Moving forward toward the cockpit can be misinterpreted.
Do not travel with other Middle Eastern-looking people on the same flight. Any assembly of more than one person can be misinterpreted by other passengers.
Forget about stretching and walking the aisles on long flights. Just sit down and do not get up, unless it's urgent.
Federal Aviation Administration spokesman, Jerry Snyder, said that his agency has not issued advisories for any special ethnic group. However, general tips for airline passengers are available at the FAA Web site