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Local Pakistani Sues Continental Airlines Over Treatment

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A Houston man is suing Continental because he ended up spending time in a London jail and can never fly with the airline again, all because -- his lawyer says -- he didn't know how to work his new cell phone.

Saquib Fatah, who lives here with his wife and son, flew Continental from Houston to London, then caught an Emirates Airline flight to visit relatives in Karachi, Pakistan. One of his family members gave him the phone.

On the Continental flight from London to Houston, Fatah's phone started beeping as the plane taxied to the runway, according to his attorney, Ali Ahmed. A stewardess told Fatah to "kill" the phone, and he tried, but when it beeped again, "the Continental Airlines stewardess used degrading and insulting language, and then offloaded him and his luggage, and handed him over to the British police," says the lawsuit, filed in Houston's federal court.

"He did not create any cause for alarm. He's an older gentleman in poor health, not a very threatening individual," Ahmed tells Hair Balls. "But they were quite inhospitable to him, humiliated him, kicked him off the plane and told the police to take him away."

The bobbies held Fatah in jail for several hours, the lawsuit claims, but he was released without any charges. Fatah re-booked a flight to Houston a week after he was kicked off the plane, but when he tried to check in at the airport, the clerk told him that Continental has listed him as an "undesirable." He had to buy another ticket on British Airways to get back home.

"Perhaps they should have asked him if he had his cell phone with him that time, the one that caused the whole problem that happened in the first place," Ahmed says.

Hair Balls asked a Continental representative to check on this information, but considering Ahmed hasn't served the lawsuit yet, the airline probably won't have a comment. If it does, we'll be sure to update.

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