Media Coverage: Detroit Free Press


CAIR-MI: NORTHWEST PLANS TO PAY MUSLIMS KEPT OFF FLIGHT

Northwest Airlines apologized Wednesday to an Islamic group representing about 40 Muslims who were denied entry to a plane, and said it would reimburse the passengers.

But Northwest maintains that it did nothing improper Jan. 7 when it prevented the group from boarding a connecting flight to Detroit in Germany. It said that the mix-up could have happened because the group was flying in on a charter carrier that did not have an agreement with Northwest.

Members of the group, mostly Lebanese-American Shi'ites from metro Detroit, had to pay about $150 each in penalty fees in order to catch other flights back home. The group was returning from a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia. Most returned home a day late.

Northwest spokesman Dean Breest said that the company will reimburse the extra costs and that a senior vice president, Andrea Newman, will meet with officials from the Council on American-Islamic Relations today to discuss the incident.

"We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience," Breest said, but added that "Northwest did not do anything wrong."

The council held a news conference Tuesday at the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn, at which some of the travelers said they were denied entry to the plane because they were Muslim.

Breest said the passengers who were denied entry had not checked in, had no boarding passes and were late.

 


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