Bochurs on a plane

A Southwest Airlines airplane. (Creative Commons)

A Southwest Airlines airplane. (Creative Commons)

We’ve all been there before. You’re on a flight and a teenager wearing a Dave Matthews Band t-shirt, headphones and a neck pillow walks down the aisle still wearing sunglasses. Then another one. And another.

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Or maybe you’ve been the teenager on a flight, excited to hang out with your friends and schmooze en route to some sunny destination.

Either way, it can be frustrating: for the adult passengers, who just want the damn kids to sit down and shut up; and for the kids, who keep being told to sit down and shut up.

That frustration apparently boiled over on Monday, when 101 Jewish high school students and their eight chaperones were ejected from a Southwest Airlines flight to Atlanta, CNN reported.

The facts of the matter remain, shall we say, up in the air. The crew claims the students, from Yeshivah of Flatbush in Brooklyn, were thrown off because of their disruptive behavior, refusing to sit down and shut down their phones prior to takeoff. The teachers and students claim the crew blew the situation of proportion and that they were acting well within normal expectations. Predictably, one student felt that it was their visible religiosity that drew unwarranted attention.

“They treated us like we were terrorists,” student Jonathan Zehavi said.  “I’ve never seen anything like it. I’m not someone to make these kinds of statements. I think if it was a group of non-religious kids, the air stewardess wouldn’t have dared to kick them off.”

The group was put on other flights within the hour.

Joe Winkler is the online coordinator for JTA.