These days, if you're a businessman with a name like Mo Hussein, you're fighting an uphill battle in America. You've probably heard all the jokes you care to.
But that doesn't mean you should be kicked off a plane and stranded 1,500 miles from home simply for speaking a foreign language, and that's what one Mo Hussein is claiming Continental Airlines did to him.
Hussein has filed a lawsuit in district court here against Continental and ExpressJet, saying he had gotten on a May 2009 from Houston to Minneapolis. Trouble soon ensued.
Hussein says he took his seat and was "engaged in making the acquaintance of, and exchanging pleasantries with, other relaxed and cordial passengers seated nearby," which certainly doesn't sound like what we do when getting ready for takeoff, which is sit and quietly curse every asshole trying to jam a gigantic piece of roll-on luggage into the clearly packed overhead bins.
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Hussein says a flight attendant asked him to change seats and he did; not long afterward he was asked to switch seats again and when he asked why, "the agent quickly departed and returned moments later with a man in uniform, purportedly the pilot, and another uniformed man identified as the 'terminal manager,'" who asked him to get off the plane.
He got off the plane and was eventually released, but missed the flight and was not offered any alternative accommodation, he says. "The reason offered...was that at some point plaintiff was reportedly overheard speaking to a fellow passenger -- 'in a foreign language,'" the suit says, italics and all.
We've asked Continental for a response; we'll post it if we get one. (Update: They've passed us on to ExpressJet; a spokesperson there is coming up with a response.)
Update: "We are aware of the filing you inquired about, however, we don't comment on open legal matters," ExpressJet's Kate Modolo tells Hair Balls.