Two Muslim men were taken off a Manchester flight after two British women accused them of “making gestures” and “skipping security scanners”.
The Muslim men were hauled off the plane for extra checks at Izmir airport in Turkey over claims including that they were “going to the toilet to use their phones”.
The flight was delayed for 80 minutes before passengers were given the all-clear for the second time.
According to witnesses, two British women told the plane’s cabin crew that they saw the Muslim men “skipping security scanners” and “making gestures”, delaying the plane’s take-off on Wednesday.
A woman on board told the Manchester Evening News that the scene was an “embarrassment”.
“Two innocent Muslim men were marched off plane and searched as two English ladies refused to fly with them on the plane,” she said.
“The result was a delay for everyone and the men flew, while the women were left behind.”
The women refused to fly with the Muslim men and decided to return to the terminal instead.
A spokesman for Thomas Cook Airlines said the concerns were unverified and thanked the men for their cooperation.
“Two customers on this flight were asked to go through security a second time as a precaution, after unverified concerns were raised that the initial airport security check had missed them out,” he said.