Two Muslim women were removed from a plane in Las Angeles, after a member of the cabin crew reportedly saw them filming in-flight safety procedures, sparking controversy.
Video from the flight showed the two women being escorted off the plane, though the precise circumstances surrounding the incident appear to be disputed.
Another passenger on the Jet Blue flight from Boston to LA who witnessed the incident, Sharon Kessler, claimed the two were removed after a flight attendant "casually relayed to a coworker that she didn't appreciate being stared at – she did not seem rattled or scared – just smug," according to the Daily Mail.
"Then – after we landed – she announced that the authorities would be boarding the plane and to remain in our seats with seat belts."
"It was a terrible moment – honestly – these women sat quietly, watched movies – it felt like overkill from this flight attendant."
But in a statement, JetBlue insisted the women had been removed due to genuine security concerns, raised by the fact that they were recording the in-flight safety procedure.
"More than 35 million customers from many cultures and backgrounds travel on JetBlue without incident each year," the company said in a statement.
"Our crewmembers' first priority is the safe and secure operation of our flights, and as a security precaution, are asked to be aware of anyone who may be filming or taking photographs of inflight procedures or the flight deck area.
"If a crewmember believes a customer may be filming safety procedures, the crewmember may report it for further review.
"In this instance, our crewmembers acted in accordance with security procedures. We appreciate our customers’ patience and cooperation, and apologize for the inconvenience."