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British Airways apologizes for ejecting Orthodox Jew

NEW YORK, Dec. 4 (JTA) — British Airways has issued an apology for ejecting an Orthodox Jew from an airline lounge at London’s Heathrow Airport. “We are now satisfied with the action taken by British Airways,” said Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, who had called on the airline to investigate the incident. “The airline recognized there was a problem, reviewed its procedures and changed its rules to avoid a similar incident in the future,” Foxman said. Aaron Tyk, an assistant attorney general for New York state, went to the lounge last month to recite his morning prayers during a layover while traveling from Tel Aviv to New York. Tyk said an airline employee asked him to leave because the lounge was “only for Muslims.” At the time, the airline denied that its employee had made any reference to Tyk’s religion or that the lounge was reserved for Muslims. The airline said the lounge was reserved for executive club members and for passengers traveling from North America, India and the Middle East, but that Israel was considered by the airline to be part of Europe. After investigating the affair and meeting with Foxman, the airline’s general manager in the United States, Barbara Cassani, said in a letter to the ADL leader that “any discrimination or bias is intolerable.” “To avoid any future misunderstandings,” she wrote, “we have simplified our rules and clarified that the Oasis Lounge is available to all transferring passengers to and from the Middle East, including, of course, Israel.” In a separate letter to Tyk, Cassani said the employee involved in the incident had been “counseled” to prevent any recurrence.

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