On Monday, Sikh actor Waris Ahluwalia could not board the flight back to the US at an airport in Mexico because he refused to remove his turban during Aeroméxico’s safety inspection.
On Wednesday, Aeroméxico agreed to Ahluwalia boarding sans the full security check:
Mr. Ahluwalia, who is also a jewelry designer and a social activist, landed in New York on Wednesday afternoon, after being allowed to board a new flight without removing his turban for a check. He said that he was asked to rub it with his hand, then present his hand for swabbing, which he did. That had been the past security practice, he said.
On Wednesday morning before takeoff, he posted a photograph online of himself inside an aircraft with his arms around the shoulders of what appeared to be two Aeroméxico pilots.
“He told us that the check was smooth,” said Harsimran Kaur, the legal director for the Sikh Coalition, a civil-rights group that worked to resolve the impasse while Mr. Ahluwalia spent two days at the airport.
Aeroméxico said in a statement it had apologized to Mr. Ahluwalia: “This incident inspires us to make sure that our safety personnel strengthens its customer service protocols, with full respect for the cultural and religious values of our customers.” The airline has agreed to initiate staff training about how to deal with passengers wearing religious head coverings, Ms. Kaur said.
Facepalm! Are they going respect the “cultural and religious values of their customers”? I wish they never a 9/11 type on their planes… that’s an unnecessary risk to other passengers. Shame on Aeroméxico!
And once again, the argument that the rules can be skipped if you have an imaginary friend has won, endangering passengers, and detracting the most basic equality — that rules should apply equally to all regardless whether one believes in the Smurfs or not.
Waris Ahluwalia has further weakened flight security for millions of people… just because he has a set of beliefs.
(image: Waris Ahluwalia)