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