Did Terrorists Do a Dry Run on AirTran's Cancelled Flight 297 in November 2009?


Quick Answer

Reports of AirTrans canceled flight 297 in November 2009 being a dry run for a terrorist attack are widely disputed and officially discredited. The reports stem from an incident aboard Flight 297 when a passenger refused to comply with instructions to turn off his cellphone before takeoff.

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Full Answer

An email by an alleged passenger of the November 17 flight began circulating that described the incident as involving other Muslims orchestrating the flight's cancellation and surmised that it must have been a prelude to a terrorist attack.

AirTrans soon released a statement that refutes the details alleged in the email and claims its author was not even a passenger aboard the flight. They admit that 13 foreigners were questioned after a disturbance caused by a passenger using a cellphone, but the party was allowed to reboard after officials determined the incident to have originated from a language barrier rather than a terrorist plot. AirTrans further contends that it did not cancel the flight, which continued to its destination two hours behind schedule.

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