Today's Guardian carries a story about the travails of the steel band who were barred from a RyanAir flight from Italy at New Year's because other passengers thought they might be terrorists. It should be noted that Michael Toussaint, who is blind, and his colleagues were the only black passengers on the plane. Even though the Italian police cleared them in only a few minutes the pilot refused to let them re-board after some of the other, white, passengers continued to object to their presence. They ended up stuck first in Sardinia and then in Liverpool at New Years after being put on alternate flights the next day. The band was eventually awarded a pitifully low amount of compensation.
The simple solution to this problem, should it happened again (and it will), is allow those bigots unwilling to fly with black people, Muslims or men with beards to disembark from the plane and to take the next available flight to their destination without, of course, any compensation or recompense for lodging or meals. They are the ones who should, and must, suffer, not the innocents.
The band, called Caribbean Steel International have a MySpace page. Go send them some love!