Man says airline wrongly banned him for touching crew member

SAN DIEGO (AP) A San Diego man banned from Alaska Airlines for touching a flight attendant says he's a victim of discrimination against men.

Mike Timon, angry over his treatment by the airline, called the San Diego Union-Tribune and told the newspaper in a story published last week that he was banned for touching the female flight attendant on the buttocks as he sat in first class on a flight from Oregon to San Diego on Dec. 26.

Timon said he touched the woman politely on her back to get her attention so he could order a drink. He said his gesture was misunderstood as sexual harassment, and he was met by police who escorted him off the plane. Police took statements from Timon and others, but took no further action.

"For me to be accused of this, and for me to be escorted off the plane by police? This is it. I'm blowing up," Timon said. "It's unnecessary. It's discrimination toward me."

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Alaska spokeswoman Ann Johnson confirmed that Timon cannot fly on the airline pending the outcome of an investigation, but said she could not provide specifics about Timon's case.

"Alaska Airlines will not tolerate any type of sexual misconduct that creates an unsafe environment for our guests and crew members and we are fully committed to do our part to address this serious issue," Johnson said.

Timon, who owns a medical equipment company and frequently flies first class, said that when no drink came he pressed his call button, and a male flight attendant came to say he had been cut off. Timon said he had only had a single drink and was sober.

Timon said widespread concern over sexual harassment has hurt men like him.

"What about us guys?" Timon said. "I can't tap a flight attendant on her back to politely ask for something, yet I get accused of something? It's out of control and I am pissed."