Abu Dhabi, UAE - An American woman aboard Etihad flight 311 caused a security incident on Monday when she asked crew members to remove most of the other passengers.
According to sources, the unnamed passenger became nervous when she heard other passengers speaking Arabic, and alerted a crew member. During the boarding process on the flight from Abu Dhabi, UAE to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, the passenger then allegedly became more aggressive and only regained composure by taking a few valium.
First class crew member Aisha Ganim said of the situation "A woman passenger got the attention of a member of the crew. She said she felt uncomfortable with certain other passengers. It turns out her concern was that everyone around her was speaking Arabic and it was freaking her out. I mean, this is the Middle East. That kind of stunt might have worked for her in Chicago, but it isn't going to fly here. No pun intended."
Ahmad Salib, a fellow passenger, said "Once word started to spread as to what was going on, the rest of us either stopped talking altogether or switched to English. I think most people thought 'Well, at least it is only a few hours until we land. Let's let the crazy woman be crazy. Once she calms down, maybe I can get a nap in.' Thank Allah there was only a small delay and I was on time for my meeting. One time in America something similar happened and my colleague was removed from the plane for TWA [Airline lingo for Talking While Arabic -editor]. I had to present his Powerpoint slides, which wasn't fun."
An Etihad spokesperson said "Our passengers feelings of safety and security are of paramount importance. However, in the coming weeks we will be reviewing our security protocols. After this incident, Etihad passengers may get nervous when they hear an American accent, for fear of getting hassled or profiled."