A heated dispute is brewing between AirTran and an entire high school, after the airline booted 101 students and their eight chaperones off a flight heading to Atlanta for their senior trip. The airline claims a group of “non-compliant passengers” wouldn’t stay seated, and some were using mobile devices despite being asked not to. Meanwhile, the students and their chaperones say things were blown way out of proportion.
CNN says the students were asked to leave an early morning flight before its scheduled departure, causing a 45-minute delay.
“We take this matter seriously and have started our own investigation,” said a statement released by the executive director of the school. “Preliminarily, it does not appear that the action taken by the flight crew was justified.”
However a spokesman for Southwest, which owns AirTran, said a number of the passengers weren’t staying in their seats or complying with requests from the flight crew, including the captain. After that, they were asked to leave the plane.
Chaperones and students are telling a different story, with one teacher saying: “It blew out of proportion. It was a mountain out of a molehill.”
“I have no indication that the flight attendants overreacted,” the spokesman told the Associated Press, adding of the “repeated requests” from the crew: ”The point at which the captain comes on the PA system and says ‘You all need to sit down’ is unusual.”
The group ended up splitting into smaller groups for the next available flights and ostensibly made it to whatever awesome senior trip they had planned. Whatever it was, it was probably more exciting than the picnic our school held a couple of miles from school where we threw water balloons at each other and pushed people into the lake for a few hours before going home.