A group of students from the United Arab Emirates is demanding an apology after they were removed from a Washington-bound U.S. Airways flight and questioned by authorities.
Several members of the group say they were removed from U.S. Airways flight 1768 from Charlotte to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and questioned by police, causing a nearly 4 1/2 hour delay.
WSOC in Charlotte says that a U.S. Airways official says that a "security issue" caused several passengers to be rescreened before the flight was allowed to make its way to Washington.
But several members of the group, who say they were headed to D.C. for a conference, are demanding an apology from authorities and the airline.
"We want an apology and an explanation to why they took us off the plane and then left us there," Yaqoob Al-Shamsi, one of the passengers removed from the flight, told ABC7 News. "We were emotionally hurt. We want them to tell people that they didn't do anything."
The flight was originally scheduled to leave Charlotte-Douglas International Airport at 4:35 p.m. It did not leave until 9:30 p.m.
Other members of the group said that authorities questioned them on their purpose for visiting Washington, where they were from and if they had previous military training or experience.
"We were told to get our bags and leave the plane," Hadef Al-Dhaheri said. "I only saw my friends being taken off. They picked certain people.
"We have a purpose here. I felt so bad because they treated us differently than others. We didn't expect this treatment from them."
Eventually, the flight was allowed to proceed to Washington, but not after a lengthy and trying delay.
"It's kind of frustrating," Salem Al-Mansoori said. "We felt like we were being detained. Some guys were questioned a lot."