DC Delegate Norton Calls for Hearing on Airline Practices

Reasons given by airline 'ignorantly off the mark'

WASHINGTON -- D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton says she wants a hearing on airline practices after nine Muslims were booted off an AirTran Airways flight on New Year's Day.

The passengers were removed after other travelers reported hearing a suspicious remark about airplane security. The flight was departing from Reagan National Airport.

In a statement Saturday, Norton said the reasons given by AirTran officials for removing the passengers -- eight of whom were U.S. citizens and one a legal permanent resident -- were "ignorantly off the mark."

She said that reports of similar incidents among other airlines show that personnel are confused about how to judge security risks and respond to them.

Norton said airlines are allowing "amateurs" to make serious decisions, and that Congress has an obligation to address the incidents.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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