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Last Updated: Monday, 2 August, 2004, 05:39 GMT 06:39 UK
Pair grounded over 'lewd' shirt
An American Airlines plane. Archive picture
The American Airlines said its staff acted properly
A US couple have been removed from a New York-bound flight at Miami airport because crew members considered a T-shirt one of them was wearing obscene.

Oscar Arela and his girlfriend were kicked off the American Airlines flight 952 after he refused to change his T-shirt depicting a bare breast.

The couple said the move violated their constitutional right to free speech.

American Airline spokesman Tim Wagner said the crew acted properly and that the couple had their fare refunded.

"It's a picture of a man and woman, and the woman's breast is showing," Mr Arela's girlfriend, Tala Tow, told the Miami Herald newspaper.

"The flight attendant basically walked up to us and yelled, 'You have to take off that shirt right now'."

Mr Arela refused to change the T-shirt or turn it inside out.

The couple - who were making a connecting flight home from Costa Rica - said that nobody on their early flight objected to the T-shirt.

But Mr Wagner justified the crew's decision, saying that the T-shirt was more graphic than described by the couple.

The spokesman said that American Airlines' policy clearly stated that someone "clothed in a manner that would cause discomfort or offence to other passengers" can be removed from a flight.

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