Children's book author kicked off Delta plane for dropping F-bomb

Jun 13 2011 - 1:36pm

DETROIT -- A 37-year-old Brooklyn, N.Y., man said he's considering legal action after being tossed off his flight in Detroit on Sunday for saying the F-word.

Robert Sayegh was on a Delta Airlines carrier flight home from his cousin's wedding in Kansas City when he said a flight attendant overheard him complaining about a 45-minute delay to a fellow passenger.

"It's ridiculous and embarrassing," the television producer and children's book author said this morning from his home in Brooklyn. "I was just kind of talking to the guy sitting next to me. I said 'What is taking so long?' I said "What the 'F' is going on?"' Sayegh said. "I could see if I directed it at (the flight attendant), but I didn't even speak to him."

Atlantic Southeast Airlines Flight 5136, which had been taxiing on the runway, turned around and Detroit Metro Airport Police boarded the plane to escort Sayegh off.

"I couldn't even believe when they pulled up and the cops got on," Sayegh said, adding that he had slept from Kansas City to Detroit and had planned to do the same on his connecting flight to Newark, N.J.

Sayegh said he's sensitive to airline guidelines regarding threats, after losing a relative in the terrorist attacks of 9-11.

"My cousin died in 9-11," he said. "If anyone stood up on a plane, I would crush them."

But Sayegh, who said he was hungover but not drunk, vehemently denies his comment was directed at anyone or even said loud enough for others to hear him.

"I don't want to come off like I curse all the time," he said, adding that it's part of the Brooklyn vernacular. "We use curse words just like adjectives. But the thing is, I never said it out loud towards him. He just happened to be right behind me."

Sayegh said he arrived home in Brooklyn at about 7 p.m. Sunday, four hours later than planned, after Atlantic put him on a later flight. He said he's going to discuss the situation with his brother, an attorney, and may file a lawsuit.

"I wouldn't even start this type of thing unless I felt it deserved it," Sayegh said, admitting he contacted local media in Detroit while he was waiting for his next flight. "This is really, really ridiculous. This guy should not have a job in terms of dealing with people. It's ridiculous."

Atlantic Southeast Airlines spokeswoman Kate Modolo said Monday that the airline is conducting an internal investigation about the incident aboard Flight 5136.

"We apologize for any inconvenience that this may have caused," she said, adding that the airline put Sayegh on a later flight to Newark.

(c) 2011, Detroit Free Press.

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