Qatari Diplomat Banned From Friendly Skies

Friday, Apr 9, 2010  |  Updated 7:01 PM EDT
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Qatari Diplomat Banned From Friendly Skies

WashingtonLife.com

Mohammed al-Madadi

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United Airlines bans diplomat for violating smoking ban
A Qatari diplomat who caused a bomb scare on a United Airlines flight Wednesday night was banned from a flight Thursday.

United Airlines banned Mohammed Al-Madadi from a Thursday flight because he violated airline and Federal Aviation Administration policies when he tried smoking on a flight from Washington to Denver Wednesday, airline spokesman Mike Trevino said. When caught, Al-Madadi's awkward remark about setting his shoes on fire prompted a bomb scare and an F-16 escort to Denver International Airport.

"The air marshals, from all that I know, did exactly the right thing, and what he did was absolutely stupid and irresponsible," said Rep. Peter King.

When Al-Madadi tried to board another United flight for his trip back to D.C., the Friendly Skies said, "No."

The U.S. is not filing charges against the diplomat after receiving assurances from Qatar that Al-Madadi will be sent home, officials said. He is expected to leave by Friday night.

Federal officials said they will not seek repayment for the cost of the response to the incident.

Al Madadi had been working out of Qatar's embassy in Washington. Qatar is one of the U.S.'s closest allies in the Persian Gulf.

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