American Airlines booted Brooklyn couple over religious shawl: lawsuit
By Kathianne Boniello
December 4, 2021
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An elderly Brooklyn couple was booted from an American Airlines flight because they refused to place a bag containing their sacred prayer shawl on the floor, according to a lawsuit.
Roberto and Elana Birman were heading home from Miami on Flight 322 in August when the “humiliating” incident unfolded, they told The Post.
Roberto, 76, and Elana, 71, brought only a briefcase, a purse and his Tallit bag — a small, 8.5 inch-by-8.5-inch, clear plastic carrier for Roberto’s prayer book and shawl — onboard. They sat in aisle seats across from each other.
A flight attendant began checking overhead bins ahead of take off, pulled the Tallit bag from the overhead bin, and asked, “Whose is this?”
When Roberto claimed it, she allegedly threw the bag on his lap and said it had to go under his seat, the couple said.
“It’s a religious item, it cannot go under the seat,” Roberto explained, removing his baseball cap to reveal his kippah covering his head and explaining that as an Orthodox Jew, he is forbidden to place the precious shawl on the floor.
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I’m personally offended. Wish I could have been his seat mate. He should have said “it’s a Koran” and I bet the response would have been different.
Did American Airlines take any action?
Maybe business travelers with lots of American Airlines should print this story and write a little note to the American Airlines CEO.
W. Douglas Parker
P.O. Box 619616
DFW Airport, TX 75261-9616
Here’s an address to make it easy.