AirTran Airways has apologized to nine Muslims removed from a flight on New Year's Day after some passengers overheard comments that were construed as threatening. "We regret that the issue escalated to the heightened security level it did," the airline said in a statement. "We trust everyone understands that the security and the safety of our passengers is paramount and cannot be compromised." In addition to the apology, AirTran said it would refund both the passengers' original airfare and the replacement tickets they were forced to buy on US Airways. "We are very grateful for the apology, and we're impressed by the outpouring of respect that AirTran has demonstrated after the fact," said Kashif Irfan, one of the detained passengers.
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