ATLANTA - A local woman is upset that a refugee family from Africa was kicked off a flight to Atlanta because of the way they smelled.
Rochelle Jones was happy to see the refugee family heading to their new home last week. She took several photos of them boarding their connecting flight at LaGuardia International Airport.
“I love this pic, family sticking together. Welcome to the USA,” Jones said.
Once on board, passengers on American Eagle Flight 4657 sat for more than an hour before the family was escorted off the place because they smelled too badly.
“After complaints from other customers aboard the aircraft… We make these decisions with the comfort of our customers and crew members in mind, and always with careful consideration,” airline spokesman Matt Miller told Channel 2’s Tony Thomas via email.
“It broke my heart to see those kids walk off with their little bags and to see this whole family walking off,” Jones said.
A representative for the resettlement group World Relief told Thomas the family is from the Central African Republic and they came seeking asylum. World Relief said it does not know why the family was kicked off the flight.
Jones said she wishes she had said more at the time to defend the family.
“Two hours is nothing compared to what a refugee has been through,” Jones said.
The family was booked on another flight for the following day and is now in metro Atlanta trying to adjust to their new life.