AirTran Airways Issues Statement Regarding Flight 175 on January 1, 2009

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 .

At departure time, the Captain of flight 175 informed the airline that there were two federal air marshals onboard who contacted local and federal Washington law enforcement officials for a security related issue onboard the aircraft involving verbal comments made by a passenger and overheard by other passengers. The airline then advised the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). It was determined that all 104 passengers onboard must deplane and passengers, crew, baggage and the aircraft should be re-screened. After the re-screening of the passengers, crew, bags and the aircraft, 95 passengers were allowed to reboard the aircraft and nine were detained for interrogation by the local law enforcement officials, the FBI and the TSA. Flight 175 departed nearly two hours late and arrived safely at its destination.

Later in the day, six of the nine detained passengers approached the customer service counter and asked to be rebooked to Orlando . At the time, the airline had not been notified by the authorities that the passengers were cleared to fly and would not rebook them until receiving said clearance. One passenger in the party became irate and made inappropriate comments. The local law enforcement officials came over and escorted the passengers away from the gate podium.

AirTran Airways complied with all TSA, law enforcement and Homeland Security directives and had no discretion in the matter. The nine passengers involved were all offered full refunds and may fly with AirTran Airways again after having been released from questioning and cleared by the law enforcement officials.

SOURCE AirTran Airways



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