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AirTran Airways Offers Apology to Customers on Flight 175 Yesterday

ORLANDO, Fla., Jan. 2 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- AirTran Airways, a subsidiary of AirTran Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: AAI), today issued the following statement regarding AirTran flight 175 originating at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport on January 1, 2009.

Our goal at AirTran Airways is to offer a safe, pleasant and positive travel experience for all customers every day on every flight. We sincerely regret that the passengers on flight 175 did not have a positive travel experience on January 1, 2009.

Security is a shared responsibility and this incident highlights the multiple layers of security that are in place in today's aviation environment. While ultimately this issue proved to be a misunderstanding, the steps taken were necessary.

Alert passengers reported to the flight crew what they believed were inappropriate comments allegedly made by one of the passengers onboard, and the flight crew notified the federal air marshals that were assigned to the flight. The federal air marshals onboard contacted local and federal law enforcement officials who came to the gate and escorted the individuals in question off the aircraft to ensure they posed no threat to the flight. After deplaning the remaining passengers and performing a sweep of the aircraft and rescreening all passengers, crew, checked and carry-on baggage, the flight departed two hours late without the nine passengers who were detained for questioning.

We regret that the issue escalated to the heightened security level it did on New Year's Day, but we trust everyone understands that the security and the safety of our passengers is paramount and cannot be compromised.

We apologize to all of the passengers -- to the nine who had to undergo extensive interviews from the authorities and to the 95 who ultimately made the flight. Nobody on Flight 175 reached their destination on time on New Year's Day, and we regret it.

The airline has refunded the air fares of the nine passengers detained for questioning, has agreed to reimburse the passengers for expenses incurred by taking another airline and has also offered to transport the passengers home to Washington, DC, free of charge.

Media Contacts: AirTran Airways


Tad Hutcheson 678.254.7442

SOURCE AirTran Airways

CONTACT: Tad Hutcheson, AirTran Airways, +1-678-254-7442

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