About 100 senior high school students from Yeshiva of Flatbush in Brooklyn are accusing AirTran of religious bias after they were booted off a plane at LaGuardia Airport early Monday morning when the flight attendants deemed them too rowdy.
Flight attendants and eventually the captain reportedly lost patience with the students, who they said were ignoring repeated requests to sit down and turn off their cellphones. The flight to Atlanta was delayed for 45 minutes as the students were asked to exit the plane and placed on other flights.
Student Jonathan Zehavi told CNN that he believed he and his classmates were targeted because of their religion.
"They treated us like terrorists," he said.
A business passenger on the flight disputed Zehavi's statement.
"The pilot warned them. They did not comply," Brad Rinschler said. "They thought it was a joke. You know, it wasn't a joke."
Rabbi Seth Linfield, the school's executive director, released a statement on Tuesday saying the school had opened an investigation into the incident.
"Preliminarily, it does not appear that the action taken by the flight crew was justified," the statement said.