PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. - New accusations are surfacing concerning three women grounded after being escorted off an AirTran flight at Palm Beach International Airport on Monday.
A flight attendant told investigators that it was the women who started the sparks flying. A new report released by the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office details why a male flight attendant called for back up to have three passengers escorted off of the plane in which he was working.
A therapist, a lawyer and a retired travel agent were thrown off AirTran Flight 1451 while waiting for takeoff at PBIA Monday afternoon. On Wednesday, they reacted to a PBSO report that includes claims they started an on board argument with the flight attendant, now identified as James Anderson, 40, of Newnan, Georgia.
"It was aggravating. It was infuriating," said Karyn Schorr, one of the passengers involved.
The women said Anderson was to blame. Schorr, along with Marilyn Miller and Carole Gray said Anderson was mishandling some of their fragile overhead baggage so they spoke up. That, they said, infuriated the Atlanta-based flight attendant.
"This was outrageous. These women have done nothing, to which the flight attendant said, 'You can throw her off as well,'" said Schorr to television station WNYW in New York.
Anderson told the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office a different story saying the women "initiated verbal arguments" and were "interrupting his flight attendant responsibilities" and that they had to be removed from the plane. An attempt was made to reach Anderson for a comment but there was no response.
"Whatever was bothering him was something that happened before we had any kind of dialogue with him at all. I think he was doing it in a kind of frustrated uptight way anyway," said Gray from her Greenwich, Connecticut home.
Days later the women remain shocked that they were escorted off the plane by sheriff's deputies and airline staff. Investigators opted not to charge or cite the passengers.
Flight 1451 to White Plains, N.Y., took off on time with the flight attendant, Anderson, on board, leaving the passengers still wondering what happened.
"For James' s sake I don't really bare him any ill will," said Gray. "I hope he figures it out and learns something from it because it didn't get anywhere. Basically, it's just a mess."
Southwest Airlines, which acquired AirTran, paid for the women to fly home from PBIA. The airline, meanwhile, will not discuss employee information but the passengers involved said they were told that airline is investigating what happened on board.