100 Students Kicked Off Flight

Why was a high school group kicked off an AirTran flight?

It’s a sight that would strike fear in to the hearts of most travelers hoping for a quiet early morning flight—100 high school students boarding a flight. A group of around 100 high school students and eight chaperones were kicked off an AirTran flight from Atlanta to New York City earlier this week.

AirTran confirmed to the Daily Mail that out of the 137 people on the flight, 108 were asked to leave before take-off, stating, “Our crew, responsible for the overall safety of AirTran flight 345 from New York LaGuardia to Atlanta had a group of non-compliant passengers leave the aircraft before departing the gate. Reports from flight attendants and other customers confirm some passengers in the group would not sit down in their seats and some were using their mobile devices. Both are violations of Federal Air Regulations, as well as our policies. The crew, led by the Captain, asked several times that the passengers comply with regulations. The issue ultimately delayed the flight’s departure to Atlanta. All members of the group were accommodated on other flights this morning.”

The flyers were from an Orthodox Jewish school, and some members of the group claim that the airline overreacted. One student told CNN, “They treated us like we were terrorists; I’ve never seen anything like it. I’m not someone to make these kinds of statements. I think if it was a group of non-religious kids, the air stewardess wouldn’t have dared to kick them off.”

However, Brad Rinschler, a business passenger on the flight told CNN that the students were being noisy, swapping seats, using cell phones, and refusing to listen to the flight crew. Rinschler said the group did not listen to repeated warnings to settle down, saying, “One chaperone—not two, not eight—one talked to them asking for a second chance. The pilot said, ‘You had a second chance, you had a third chance. There’s other people; we have to go. It’s not stopping.”

The flight was delayed for 45 minutes due to the incident.

Who do you believe? Tell us in the comments.

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By Caroline Morse Teel

Unfortunately for her bank account, Principal Editor Caroline Morse Teel is powerless to resist a good flight deal. Follow her on Instagram @TravelWithCaroline.

Caroline joined Boston-based SmarterTravel in 2011 after living in Ireland, London, and Manhattan. She's traveled to all seven continents, jumped out of planes, and bungeed off bridges in the pursuit of a good story. She loves exploring off-the-beaten path destinations, anything outdoorsy, and all things adventure.

Her stories have also appeared online at USA Today, Business Insider, Huffington Post, Yahoo, Boston.com, TripAdvisor, Buzzfeed, Jetsetter, Oyster, Airfarewatchdog, and others.

The Handy Item I Always Pack: "Earplugs. A good pair has saved my sleep and sanity many times!"

Ultimate Bucket List Experience: Hiking Mount Kilimanjaro.

Travel Motto: "Don't be boring."

Aisle, Window, or Middle Seat: "Aisle (when the first class private suite isn't available)."

E-mail her at cmorse@smartertravel.com.

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