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Passenger Booted After Question Of Pilot Sobriety

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The head of the Air Travelers Association is criticizing America West. David Stempler thinks the airline over-reacted when a passenger boarding a flight in San Francisco was escorted off after making a remark about the pilot´s sobriety.

The woman was placed on another airline Monday after being questioned about whether it was a joke or an accusation.

Stempler calls America West´s actions an abuse of authority. America West spokeswoman Patty Nowack says the woman initially told a flight attendant her comment was serious. An airport spokesman says the woman kept saying she was kidding.

Nowack says if it turns out she was joking, employees may have reacted harshly. However, she says safety and security is never a joking matter.