CNN reported that Southwest described the students as “non-compliant” because they would not remain seated or put their phones away when asked.
However, students and chaperones from Yeshivah of Flatbush told CNN that the flight attendants overreacted when they kicked the whole class off the plane.
“They certainly did not do what the stewardess was claiming they did,” teacher Marian Wielgus said. “That’s what was so bizarre.”
She said that the flight attendants were “nasty” and “created an incident when there didn’t have to be one.”
A student claimed they were kicked off the plane because they were part of a religious organization.
“They treated us like we were terrorists; I’ve never seen anything like it. I’m not someone to make these kinds of statements,” student Jonathan Zehavi said. “I think if it was a group of non-religious kids, the air stewardess wouldn’t have dared to kick them off.”
Southwest Airlines, however, said the students were violating safety regulations.
“Both are violations of federal air regulations, as well as our policies,” airliner spokeswoman Whitney Eichinger told the New York Daily News. “The crew, led by the captain, asked several times that the passengers comply with regulations.”
Eichinger, however, said that the student’s claim was false.
“The sole reason these customers were removed from the aircraft was due to their behavior,” she told the News. “Anything otherwise is unfounded and offensive.”