29 August 2006

Another airline to boycott

Last year, there was a major fuss over Southwest Airlines booting a passenger off over her "Asses of Evil" T-shirt. In fact, I blogged about it. Needless to say, Southwest will never see a dime of my money again.

Now, I was alerted to an incident at JetBlue Airways, involving an Arab-American who happens to be good acquaintances with the Democracy Cell Project. In fact, he was participating in Fear Up!, a production put on by the Democracy Cell Project. JetBlue yanked him out for additional screening, simply because he happened to wear a T-shirt with an Arabic message on it (even though it was translated into English as well), and "many passengers were complaining." He was asked to remove the shirt, wear something else over it, or miss the flight - in the end, he had a JetBlue employee buy a "New York" T-shirt, after a long protest. His seat was arbitrarily reassigned though.

JetBlue had a good reputation among progressives, thanks to its Democratic political contributions and 23% ownership by George Soros. But to me, that's not enough. Given this incident, and JetBlue's willing participation in the early stages of CAPPS II passenger profiling system, I am incensed, and will make sure to avoid JetBlue at any cost. In fact, Karen Bradley, founder of Democracy Cell Project and one who helped the man book the flight on JetBlue (not to mention a frequent customer herself), will do the same.

Raed in the Middle (the man's blog)

In fact, in regards to CAPPS II, one of the guys at Northwest Airlines who helped develop the system said that frequent fliers of a given airline will not be profiled, while first-time customers will definitely be profiled. I guess that's another reason to avoid JetBlue, which I've never flown. And Northwest for that matter - another airline I've never flown.

It looks like my flying will have to be with United for the most part, maybe some with American, and the rest with their foreign partners. My upcoming Vancouver trip is on Alaska - an American partner - but given Alaska's own conservative streaks, I'm wishing I paid $50 more for Air Canada.