Patience wore thin: 100 students thrown off flight

NEW YORK — A group of about 100 high school students traveling from New York to Atlanta were thrown off a flight, along with their chaperones, after the pilot and crew lost patience with some kids who wouldn’t sit down and put away their cellphones.

The teenagers, all seniors at the Yeshiva of Flatbush, in Brooklyn, were ordered off the AirTran flight around 6 a.m. Monday as it sat at a gate at LaGuardia Airport.

AirTran’s parent company, Southwest Airlines, said in a statement that flight attendants asked passengers several times to take their seats and put their mobile devices away. The airline said that when some didn’t comply, the captain repeated the request. When that didn’t work, either, the whole group of students was ordered to disembark for safety reasons, the airline said.

The flight was delayed for about 45 minutes while the students filed out of the Boeing 737, which seats about 137 people, leaving the plane mostly empty.

Rabbi Seth Linfield, executive director at Yeshiva of Flatbush, said that administrators were still looking into the matter Tuesday, but that he believed adults on the trip who said the students weren’t behaving that badly.

“Preliminarily, it does not appear that the action taken by the flight crew was justified,” he said in a statement.

Asked whether he thought 100 teenagers were too many to keep in order on a flight, Linfield said the school has taken similar-size groups before without any problems.

Southwest spokesman Brad Hawkins wouldn’t get into details as to why the entire group was kicked out, but said “I have no indication that the flight attendants overreacted.”

He said the AirTran cabin crew made “repeated requests” for an unknown number of the students to behave. “The point at which the captain comes on the PA system and says, ‘You all need to sit down,’ is unusual.”

The students were on a three-day trip that was to include a rafting excursion and a visit to a Six Flags theme park.

The airline ultimately put the students on other flights, but it took 12 hours for some to reach their destination via transfers that took them as far out of their way as Milwaukee, Wis.

Some students posted pictures and video of their journey on social media sites. At least one sent a barrage of Twitter messages to media organizations, complaining that the way they were being treated was a “scandal.”

Linfield said Southwest Airlines offered vouchers to future air travel to faculty and students who were on the plane.

More in Local News

Snohomish man, 63, missing from home since Monday

He left without his keys, wallet and phone, saying something about going to “the river.”

Firefighters come to the rescue and give mom new stroller

Donations to the Good Neighbor Program covered the $143.20 cost.

He drank nearly a gallon of vodka, then grabbed a cop’s gun

He got pummeled for that. Police had been trying to keep him on a gurney for an ambulance ride.

Police seek witnesses to hit-and-run

An 88-year-old woman was hurt when a Prius turned right at an intersection and struck her walker.

Man killed in collision near Highway 92 identified

Kristofor Nordgren, of Lake Stevens, was driving his Subaru when it hit atruck and a Ford Focus.

Case unresolved: The noose at an Edmonds construction site

Though two were fired over comments about it, police were unable to determine who put it there.

To get drug money, Lynnwood man says he cut 911 wires

Those wires happened to be the ones used by 911 dispatchers, but emergency services weren’t affected.

February trial set for suspect in deadly Marysville shooting

There had been questions about Wayne Alpert’s mental health.

Fatal car crash reported on Highway 92 near Lake Stevens

The 3 p.m. accident and investigation stopped traffic in both directions near Machias Road.

Most Read