More than 100 high school students on their senior trip were kicked off an AirTran plane early Monday morning for alleged misbehavior. The students attend Yeshiva of Flatbush, a private Orthodox Jewish school in Brooklyn, N.Y., and their school officials are expressing outrage that they were kicked off the flight.
“Preliminarily, it does not appear that the action taken by the flight crew was justified,” School Executive Director Seth Linfield said in a statement on Tuesday.
The Southwest Airlines flight was bound for Atlanta, and while school officials believe the students were wrongly targeted, the airline claims the large group were being defiant, refusing to stay seated and remaining on their cellphones though phones must be turned off upon boarding any aircraft.
The high students were warned by not only the flight attendants, but also the captain, to turn their devices off.
When the requests were ignored, 101 students and eight chaperones were escorted off the plane, delaying the flight for 45 minutes, Brad Hawkins, spokesman for Southwest, told Pix11 News.
A chaperone said the situation escalated unnecessarily, however. “It blew out of proportion. It was a mountain out of a molehill,” said teacher Marian Wielgus. Though the travelers were kicked off the flight, Southwest did put everyone on other flights to Atlanta later that day, though the group was split up on different planes.