Two Muslim men have filed a complaint against American Airlines over alleged racial profiling.
On Thursday, Dallas residents Abderraoof Alkhawaldeh and Issam Abdallah told reporters that their Sept. 14 flight was abruptly canceled because their fellow passengers had reportedly expressed safety concerns. Abdallah said that after the jetliner was evacuated, an FBI agent informed him that they were notified about his "suspicious" bathroom activity while he was aboard the flight prior to takeoff.
"I asked him what's the reason, he (FBI agent) said I went to the restroom and I flushed twice," Abdallah told reporters, per NBC News. "It was a really humiliating situation in front of everybody, I felt like they were discriminating against my ethnicity and my religion."
American Airlines has since released a statement explaining their decision to cancel the flight, which was set to depart from Birmingham, Alabama to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.
“American Airlines Flight 5886, operated by Mesa Airlines, from Birmingham to Dallas-Fort Worth on Sept. 14 was canceled due to concerns raised by a crew member and a passenger," the statement read. "American and all of its regional partners have an obligation to take safety and security concerns raised by crew members and passengers seriously. All customers on Flight 5886 were rebooked on the next flight to DFW."
The airline said it has since reached out to Alkhawaldeh and Abdallah "to better understand their experience."
Alkhawaldeh said he was to celebrate his 29th wedding anniversary with his wife and five children the day after the flight, but the incident ended up "ruining the happy occasion."
"I travel for a living... I'm really worried what is my next flight experience," he said, according to CNN. "This put a lot of stress on me and my family ... I have taken hundreds of flights, I have flown over 1,000,000 miles with American. I have the highest elite status-executive platinum," Alkhawaldeh said. "And to be treated with disrespect, and suspicion, to be racially profiled, to be followed by law enforcement officers for hours in front of hundreds of passengers, to be questioned in public."