Let Airlines Decide Who Boards Their Planes
January 9, 2009
Washington, D.C.--A 29-year-old Middle Eastern man who insisted on occupying the window seat closest to the cockpit while wearing a T-shirt saying, in Arabic and English, “WE WILL NOT BE SILENT,” has been paid $240,000 to drop his discrimination lawsuit. Raed Jarrar had sued JetBlue and two federal security officers for having made him cover the T-shirt and sit in the rear of the plane, to mollify passengers who felt threatened.
“It’s an injustice when a private airline is penalized for exercising its rights as an owner,” said Thomas Bowden, an analyst at the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights. “Property owners are entitled to set standards for conduct, including dress codes, that their customers must observe when using company property. If a potential customer finds those standards unreasonable, he is free to take his business elsewhere.
“Here, JetBlue should have been legally entitled to forbid Mr. Jarrar from frightening other passengers aboard its privately owned jetliner. In deciding the matter, JetBlue had a right to consider that Mr. Jarrar’s behavioral and physical profile resembled that of terrorists who have left a trail of blood and bone across the globe, both before and after destroying the World Trade Center with hijacked airliners in 2001.
“Now, however, Mr. Jarrar is a quarter-million dollars richer because our anti-discrimination laws forbid businesses to use their own judgment in these matters.”
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Thomas A. Bowden is an analyst at the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights, focusing on legal issues. Mr. Bowden is a former lawyer and law school instructor who practiced for twenty years in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ayn Rand Center is a division of the Ayn Rand Institute and promotes the philosophy of Ayn Rand--author of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead.
For more articles by Thomas Bowden, and his bio, click here.