Too pretty to fly?

2/22/08 Tampa, Florida ? Prejudice against pretty?

That's the claim from a pair of 18-year-old best friends from Oldsmar who were escorted off a Southwest Airlines plane.

USF student Nisreen Swedberg and friend Sarah Williams claim the flight crew was rude to them from the moment they stepped onto the plane at Tampa International Airport on February 14.

Swedberg said she asked a flight attendant for a bottle of water and was told she could wait until the rest of the flight was served.

?And I patiently waited and then when they came around with water, they skipped me,? Swedberg said.

At one point, Williams had to use the plane's bathroom. She saw another passenger in it, and when he hadn't come out 15 minutes later, she knocked on the door.

When he came out, Williams says the man came over to her seat and yelled a profanity at her. Williams admits she yelled a profanity back at him but was puzzled when she says the flight crew only questioned her.

?I think they were just discriminating against because we were young decent-looking girls. I mean, nobody else on the plane looked like us except us,? she said. ?[The flight attendants] were like older ladies. We were younger. Who knows, they could have been just jealous of us because we were younger.?

Southwest defends the incident, saying the women caused a disruption on the flight.

When the plane landed in Los Angeles, the women were escorted off by four uniformed police officers and later questioned by the FBI.

Nearly two hours later, the women were released. No charges were filed.

Still, Williams and Swedberg say they were banned from all future Southwest Airlines flights, including their scheduled flight home to Tampa.

Swedberg spent $419.50 on a one-way return ticket and arrived at TIA on Monday. Williams is still in Los Angeles trying to find a cheaper flight home. She hopes to be back to Tampa by Saturday.