Flying With a Tan

From the Independent:

Seth Stein is used to jetting around the world to create stylish holiday homes for wealthy clients. This means the hip architect is familiar with the irritations of heightened airline security post-9/11. But not even he could have imagined being mistaken for an Islamist terrorist and physically pinned to his seat while aboard an American Airlines flight – especially as he has Jewish origins.

Yet this is what happened when he travelled back from a business trip to the Turks and Caicos islands via New York on 22 May. Still traumatised by his ordeal, the 47-year-old is furious that the airline failed to protect him from the gung-ho actions of an over-zealous passenger who claimed to be a police officer. He has now instructed a team of top US lawyers to act for him.

The London-based interiors guru, whose clients have included Peter Mandelson and the husband-and-wife design team Suzanne Clements and Ignacio Ribeiro, said he felt compelled to speak out to protect other innocent travellers from a similar experience.

“This man could have garrotted me and what was awful was that one or two of the passengers went up afterwards to thank him,” said Mr Stein. He has since been told by airline staff he was targeted because he was using an iPod, had used the toilet when he got on the plane and that his tan made him appear “Arab”.

5 Comments

  1. This is going to be one of those things that rattles on and on with nothing done about it until it gets to be every other flight, isn’t it?

  2. Or until they eff with the wrong guy. I’m hoping that it’s Mr. Stein, he sounds wired enough to afford hiring the lawyers that’ll give everyone involved a good reaming out.

  3. Let’s see…

    1. Assault
    2. Battery
    3. False imprisonment
    4. Racially motivated – and that’s just criminal charges.

    Yep, if he plays his cards right, someone is going to the big house for a loooong time. And, I would love to see a big compensation paid, too.

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