Atlantic Southeast Airlines Flight 5136, which had been taxiing on the runway, turned around and Detroit Metro Airport Police boarded the plane to escort Sayegh off.
Sayegh, who admits to being hungover on the plane but not drunk, was placed on a later flight. Atlantic Southeast Airlines spokeswoman Kate Modolo issued a formal apology to Sayegh: We apologize for any inconvenience that this may have caused.
Sayegh indicates that he is sensitive to airline guidelines regarding threats, having lost his cousin on September 11. If anyone stood up on a plane, I would crush them. He asserts, however, that he was not behaving in a threatening manner.
The airline is currently in the process of investigating the incident. Though airlines do reserve the right to remove disruptive customers, Sayegh denies any assertions that he did anything more than use the F-word several times in a casual conversation with the passenger sitting next to him.
Sayegh, a television producer and childrens book author, complained following the incident, Its ridiculous and embarrassing. I was just kind of talking to the guy sitting next to me. I said, What is taking so long? I said, What the F is going on? He added, I could see if I directed it at the flight attendant, but I didnt even speak to him.
Not everyone believes Sayeghs story, however. Jeanne Sager of The Stir writes:
[T]heres something about Sayeghs whole story that just doesnt sit right with me. He contacted the media immediately in Detroit after being escorted off a flight, ostensibly for letting loose several F-bombs. [Emphasis in original.]
Naturally theres the he-said, she-said part of this. Sayegh says all the cursing was done to a fellow passenger, so he shouldnt have been kicked off. Delta says its completing an internal investigation, but they put him on a later flight to Newark, and he got home alright. Im not saying either one is lying, but who is the naughty one here?
The Huffington Post views the incident as an example of dwindling liberties:
Apparently, cursing is not only prohibited on airplanes, but on buses as well. Last December, Milwaukee resident Terry Duncan received a $500 fine for cursing on a public bus. The fine was for disorderly conduct after Duncan used the F-word and S-word on a public bus in the presence of an undercover deputy. Duncan was reportedly engaged in a conversation when he let the expletives slip.
Milwaukees Sheriff David Clarke justified the ticket, indicating that his county has a zero-tolerance policy for disorderly conduct on buses, calling it a quality of life issue.
Likewise, the issuing department defended the ticket, declaring, People should be able to ride the bus without feeling intimidated by someones language or behavior.
According to Sayegh, however, his language was not meant to be intimidating. He asserts that expletives are an unfortunate element of the legendary Brooklyn vernacular. I dont want to come off like I curse all the time. We use curse words just like adjectives. But the thing is, I never said it out loud towards him [the flight attendant]. He just happened to be right behind me.