Lecturer accuses airline of racial harassment

A university lecturer has made a complaint of racial harassment against an airline after being told not to sleep with his hands covered as “a matter of security”. A flight attendant woke him after he had covered his head and hands with his jacket, saying his actions had “disturbed” other passengers.

Malhotra, 32, who was born in the UK but is of Indian descent, believes he would not have been treated the same way if he was white, and has been backed by the Equality and Human Rights Commission in Scotland. The incident, last month, raises fears that passengers of Asian or Muslim appearance are being discriminated against by some airline staff because of heightened tensions over terrorist attacks.

The Civil Aviation Authority, which regulates airlines, says there are no rules disallowing passengers from having their heads or hands covered during a flight.

Scotland on Sunday, 10 April 2011