Independent Online Edition > Americas
Another passenger mistaken for a possible terrorist story.
Of course I feel sorry for the guy:
The drama unfolded less than an hour into the flight. As he settled down with a book and a ginger ale, the father-of-three was grabbed from behind and held in a head-lock.
"This guy just told me his name was Michael Wilk, that he was with the New York Police Department, that I'd been acting suspiciously and should stay calm. I could barely find my voice and couldn't believe it was happening," said Mr Stein.
"He went into my pocket and took out my passport and my iPod. All the other passengers were looking concerned." Eventually, cabin crew explained that the captain had run a security check on Mr Stein after being alerted by the policeman and that this had cleared him. The passenger had been asked to go back to his seat before he had restrained Mr Stein. When the plane arrived in New York, Mr Stein was met by apologetic police officers who offered to fast-track him out of the airport.
From an earlier part of the story:
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".
But his reaction - to look at suing the airline for failing to protect him - seems a little silly. I mean, it sounds as if the "police officer" told the crew of his suspicions, and they did not want him to act. What should they have done, handcuffed him (the alleged police officer) to his seat? I imagine that might not have done much to ensure a trouble free flight, especially if he started yelling.
It's also interesting to note that Mr Stein is painted as somewhat of an interior design celebrity. I assume this happened in first or business class then. If so, I am guessing he was not humiliated in front of all of economy class. (Maybe it's a moot point as to which class it is worst to be humiliated in front of?)
Anyway, it is indeed a worry for arab looking people flying at the moment. I am not sure what can be done about it, though.