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Prominent Iranian-American Lawyer Denied Entrance on Virgin Airlines Flight
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Robert “Bobby” Abtahi. Photo courtesy of Jezebel.

Summary: A well-respected Dallas lawyer was denied entry on a Virgin Airlines flight because of revolving door shenanigans. 

We’ve all been victims of rudeness, especially anyone who’s travelled in New York. Yet, most of us never use our power to get back at jerks the way Virgin Airlines did.



Gif courtesy of Tumblr.

On Monday, prominent Texas lawyer Robert B. Abtahi was denied entry on a Virgin Airlines flight because he was rude to an attendant when he arrived at the airport.

Abtahi is the vice chairman of the Dallas Plan Commission, the official group that makes planning and zoning recommendations to the City Council. The Persian-American lawyer had just returned from Bermuda, and he said he was unshaven and tan. When asked whether he had been profiled because of his heritage, Abtahi said, “You always think about it. You just hope not.”

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Abtahi tried to board Virgin America Flight 885 to Dallas before it departed at 3:50 p.m., and he was told that he was not allowed on the plane. When he pressed further, he was told the captain and the crew didn’t feel comfortable with him on the flight. He pressed again only to discover that one of the crew members said he had cut her off in the revolving door at the airport entrance. Apparently, they had ended up in the same stall when a crew member got in behind him.

Abtahi revealed on Twitter that they “both fumbled to get in” and he “didn’t know she was crew.” He had no idea that he was perceived to be a rude jackass until the Virgin Airlines gate agent let him know he cut someone off.


Why do we still have revolving doors? Gif courtesy of Tumblr.

Abtahi was forced to cancel his ticket and get on another airline’s flight.

Virgin Airlines released a statement that they reviewed the incident and believed it had been a “misunderstanding.” The company spokesperson said they believed Abtahi’s account was accurate.

“We are sorry Mr. Abtahi had this experience today, as it was not representative of the guest service for which we are known,” Virgin Airlines spokesperson David Arnold said.

Virgin Airlines offered Abtahi reimbursement for his flight as well as two free flights. Abtahi accepted the company’s apology and directed the free flights go to a Dallas charity that helps refugees flee abuse. He also called for the airlines to tighten their policies on who the crew thinks should and shouldn’t be allowed to board.



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