A British Muslim is planning to sue airline Virgin Atlantic alleging he was removed from a flight for mentioning 9/11.
Mohammad Khan, 26, said he was escorted from the plane, which was headed for Atlanta in the United States, after remarking to a flight attendant that security had tightened since the terror attack on the World Trade Centre in 2001.
He told the London Evening Standard: “I totally innocently said ‘there’s been more security since 9/11’, then asked the stewardess ‘I bet your job has changed since 9/11’, but she looked stunned.”
Mr Khan, who was on the first leg of a journey to Medellin, Colombia, said the plane turned around on the runway and taxied back to the terminal at London Heathrow, where he was taken off by police.
His solicitors state that police accepted what had happened was a “misunderstanding” but that he was not permitted back onto the flight by the airline once this had been established.
Mr Khan said: “I was racially and religiously profiled. I know this would not have happened if I was a white man in his 60s who had done the same thing.”
Virgin Atlantic refused to pay for a ticket refund for Mr Khan, who hails from Cricklewood, north London, meaning he had to pay £817 (Dh3,895) for a flight with another airline.
The incident took place in January 2016 and he says he has been battling with the airline ever since for compensation for the ordeal.
A spokesman for Virgin Atlantic said: “We can confirm that a passenger was escorted from flight VS103 on 8th Jan 2016 by Police after multiple customers and crew reported hearing highly inappropriate comments concerning security.
“This is not a decision we take lightly and although such security events are rare, we have a responsibility to report them to the relevant authorities to ensure the safety and security of our aircraft, customers and crew.
“Our team has been in regular contact with Mr Khan and his lawyers, and we have offered to refund his flights.”