UK

Amir Khan claims he was ‘treated so badly’ when police removed him and friend from flight

British boxer Amir Khan has claimed he was ‘picked on’ and ‘treated so badly’ when he was kicked off an American Airlines flight by US police after an alleged row about face coverings.

The 34-year-old had been flying to a training camp in Colorado from New York when he and a friend were removed by police after someone on the plane is said to have complained his colleague’s mask ‘was not high enough’.

But the boxer said his ‘mask was always up’ and he ‘did not argue’ with flight attendants when they asked his friend to lift his mask up.

Speaking to Kay Burley on Sky News today, Khan continued to maintain that he had ‘done nothing wrong’ during the incident.    

He also said it took place a week after the anniversary of the September 11 attacks and ‘things were a little bit tense.’

Amir Khan claimed he was ‘picked on’ and ‘did nothing wrong’ when he was kicked off an American Airlines flight by US police

The boxer said his 'mask was always up' and he 'did not argue' with flight attendants when they asked his friend to lift his mask up

The boxer said his ‘mask was always up’ and he ‘did not argue’ with flight attendants when they asked his friend to lift his mask up

He said: ‘I got on the plane and I was sat on seat number 1A and 1B was for my friend who was coming to train with me.

 ‘As soon as I was on the plane I was on a phone call and the stewardess said to put my phone call down – which I did. I put it down I didn’t argue. I had my mask on and everything was fine.

‘My friend must have been drinking some water and put his mask down a little bit. The lady then came and said ”please you need to put your mask up”. It must have been a little bit lower, just below his nose and he fixed that.

‘And then the plane is moving now so I’m leaning on the side of the window and trying to fall asleep. I was on my way to Colorado for my training camp and then the plane for some reason stops and when it stops I pull up the window to see what has happened.

‘Before I know it the doors open up and three officers walk in and the air stewardess tells says me and my friend need to leave.

‘I hadn’t done anything wrong, my mask was always up and I just feel that I got treated so badly.

‘It was quite embarrassing standing up in front of a full plane and I think even they were shocked thinking ”why are the police on the areophane?”.

‘We got taken out and they just said that we were not paying attention to instructions they had given us.

‘They said that my bag was out and I wasn’t listening and argued with them which I never did. I didn’t argue with them and my bag was in the storage area at the top of the luggage area.’

The boxer went on to say that he and his friend were both ‘picked on’ and ‘treated very badly’. 

Khan went on to say that the incident took place a week after the anniversary of the September 11 attacks and 'things were a little bit tense'

Khan went on to say that the incident took place a week after the anniversary of the September 11 attacks and ‘things were a little bit tense’

Last week the boxer said he was 'disgusted' by his alleged treatment on the flight

Last week the boxer said he was ‘disgusted’ by his alleged treatment on the flight

Khan took to Twitter after the incident and claimed he had been banned by American Airlines

Khan took to Twitter after the incident and claimed he had been banned by American Airlines 

He added: ‘I just feel like I was treated very badly. It was a week after 9/11 and I do feel like things were a little bit tense. To be picked on, two Asian boys sat at the front. Being pulled off the plane, it was quite embarrassing really.’

Last week Khan said he was ‘disgusted’ by his alleged treatment onboard the flight.

In a video on social media he said: ‘Obviously a complaint was made by American Airlines staff, they said that my colleague’s mask was not high enough and not up, that they had to stop the plane and take me and my friend off when I did nothing wrong.

‘They kicked us both off, I was sat on 1A, he was sat on 1B – I find it so disgusting and so disrespectful, I was supposed to go to Colorado springs for a training camp and now I’m back in New York for another day.

‘Now I have to reschedule another airplane to travel back to training camp which is really upsetting, for no reason this was and I’m just so disgusted that American Airlines would do this to us and ban me from travelling.

‘I’m sure there must be cameras on the airplane that they could see, or someone should see, to see that if my colleague really was bad in anyway or caused a scene in a way where he had to be taken off the plane – I’ve never seen this happen before.’

American Airlines said their Customer Relations team was reaching out to Mr Khan to learn more about his experience

American Airlines said their Customer Relations team was reaching out to Mr Khan to learn more about his experience 

The boxer, who has appeared on reality television shows including I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!, also claimed he had been ‘banned’ by the carrier.

An American Airlines spokesman said: ‘Prior to take-off, American Airlines Flight 700, with service from Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) to Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW), returned to the gate to deplane two customers who reportedly refused to comply with repeated crew member requests to stow luggage, place cell phones in airplane mode and adhere to federal face covering requirements.

‘Our Customer Relations team is reaching out to Mr Khan to learn more about his experience and reinforce the importance of policies implemented for the safety of our customers and crew.’


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