Brooklyn man tossed off flight after cursing may sue

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Maureen Feighan, Detroit News staff writer

A Brooklyn, N.Y., man who said he was thrown off a flight at Detroit Metro Airport on Sunday for cursing is considering suing the airline, calling the experience "humiliating."

Robert Sayegh had a layover Sunday afternoon after attending a cousin's wedding in Kansas City on Saturday. The 37-year-old TV producer and children's book author said he and other passengers on Atlantic Southeast Airlines Flight 5136 to Newark, N.J., had been waiting at the gate for 45 minutes when he was overheard by a flight attendant telling a passenger next to him, "What's taking so (expletive) long to close the overhead compartments?"

The plane eventually taxied to the runway, but soon returned, where airport police boarded the plane and Sayegh was escorted off.

"I'm like, 'Are they throwing me off the plane?'" said Sayegh, who said he used the F-word twice. "This is the most ridiculous thing I've ever been through in my life. It's embarrassing."

Sayegh said he was told only after he left the plane that he was removed for being "disruptive," and airport police never filed a report.

"It wasn't like I stood up like a crazy maniac and was screaming, 'Move the plane!'" said Sayegh, who said he grew up in Brooklyn where "we curse as adjectives."

A spokeswoman for Atlantic Southeast Airlines, a Delta connection carrier, said the airline is "conducting a full investigation of the incident."

"The passenger involved was reaccommodated on a later flight," said Allison Baker. "We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused."

Atlantic Southeast Airlines adheres to Delta's contract of carriage for passengers, which says the airline may refuse to transport or may remove people "when the passenger's conduct is disorderly, abusive or violent." A passenger also can be removed if he or she "appears to be intoxicated or under the influence of drugs" or "attempts to interfere with any member of the flight crew in pursuit of his or her duties."

Sayegh said he was hung over, but not drunk. He insisted he would never disrupt a flight: "My cousin was killed in 9/11. A lot of friends died in 9/11. I would never come close to doing anything like that."

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