British boxer Amir Khan claims removal from US flight might have been racially motivated
British boxer Amir Khan says he believes he was removed from a US flight on 18 September due to his race.
Khan and a colleague were traveling to a training camp in Colorado with American Airlines when they were escorted from the flight by police following a row with flight attendants.
The 34-year-old boxer said the confrontation happened when flight staff told him he was wearing his face mask "too low". He said he believes he and his companion could have been picked out due to the colour of their skin.
American Airlines claim Khan and his companion failed to stow luggage correctly, broke local face mask regulations, and did not switch their phones to airplane mode, leading to their removal.
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"[They] reportedly refused to comply with repeated crew member requests," American Airlines said.
As well as being escorted from the flight, Khan was also given a travel ban by the airline.
The Bolton-born boxer told Sky News that the timing, coming a week after the 20th anniversary of 9/11, could have been a factor in the altercation and there was no reason for his removal from the flight.
"I just feel like I was treated really badly, it was a week after 9/11 and I do feel like things were a little bit tense but to be picked on, two Asian boys who are sat at the front, being pulled out of in front a full plane, it's quite embarrassing really," he said.
American Airlines has responded to Khan's claims.
"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," it said, according to UK media.
Khan is a former world champion boxer and won a silver for the UK in the 2004 Athens Olympics.