An Iraqi man was boarded off a flight from Vienna to London last week, after fellow passengers reported him for having “ISIS messages” on his mobile phone.
A passenger alerted crew members of her suspicions prior to take off on the Easyjet flight on Saturday.
As a result of the allegations, the flight was delayed by three hours as the passengers were taken off the aircraft and further security measures were undertaken.
Eventually the flight took off, sans the man who was made to stay in Austria for further questioning. The man was later released without being charged.
“There was nothing suspicious found and he has been allowed to continue his journey,” Austrian interior ministry spokesperson Karl-Heinz Grundboeck said. “The only thing outstanding is a detailed analysis of his mobile phone.”
Easyjet has apologised for the delay but maintained that safety is the company’s first priority.
“EasyJet can confirm that flight EZY5352 from Vienna to London Gatwick was delayed due to additional security checks before departure,” a source said.
“The safety and security of its passengers and crew is our highest priority,” she asserted, adding, “We apologise for the delay and any inconvenience caused as a result.”
Following the brutal attacks in Brussels last week, travel in Europe has become particularly tense. Security has been beefed across the continent after the bombings that killed at least 35 people and injured scores more.
This is not the first time Muslims or people of Middle Eastern appearance have faced discrimination during travel. Earlier this year, four men alleged that they were withdrawn from an American Airlines flight because their looks made other passengers ‘uneasy’.