Amir Khan was removed from a flight after reportedly ignoring airline protocol.
The former junior welterweight titleholder from Bolton, England was aboard an American Airlines flight from Newark, New Jersey to Colorado Springs, where is now conducting his training camp.
According to the 34-year-old, he and a colleague were removed by police after his colleague was warned by flight staff that his mask was not sitting high enough up on his face.
A distraught Khan shared the news in a video posted on his Twitter account Saturday. Khan maintains that he did nothing wrong.
“So I was taken off the plane today when I was going to training camp in Colorado Springs by the police. Obviously, a complaint was made by an American Airlines staff. They said that my colleague’s mask was not high enough and not up. They had to stop the plane and take me and my friend off when I did nothing wrong. They kicked us both off.”
“I sat in 1-A, he sat in 1-B. I just find it so disgusting and disrespectful. I was supposed to go to Colorado Springs for a training camp and now I’m back in New York for a day and now I have to reschedule another airplane to travel back to training camp, which is really upsetting, for no reason. I'm so disgusted that American Airlines would do this to me and ban me from traveling.”
In his tweet, Khan, who is of Pakistani descent, used the hashtag #Notallterrorists, hinting that he may have been the subject of racial discrimination.
American Airlines disputed Khan’s characterization of the event. According to the company, Khan and his colleague violated more than just mask policy.
“Prior to takeoff, American Airlines Flight 700, with service from Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) to Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW), returned to the gate to deplane two customers who reportedly refused to comply with repeated crew member requests to stow luggage, place cell phones in airplane mode and adhere to federal face covering requirements,” an American Airlines spokesman told The Mirror. "Our Customer Relations team is reaching out to Mr. Khan to learn more about his experience and reinforce the importance of policies implemented for the safety of our customers and crew.”
Khan is hoping that video evidence will turn up to vindicate his claim.
“I’m sure there must be cameras on the airplane that they could see or someone should see that if I was really — or my colleague — was bad in any way or caused a scene where we had to be taken off a plane,” Khan said. “I’ve never seen this happen before. Heartbroken, really. I really wanted to be in camp.”
Khan (34-5, 21 KOs) last fought in 2019, scoring a technical knockout over Billy Dib in Jeddah. He has recently expressed his desire to face countryman Kell Brook in a long overdue matchup.