WASHINGTONC - Airline officials ordered nine traditionally-dressed Muslims, including three children, off a domestic flight that was about to leave Reagan National Airport in Washington on Thursday afternoon, the Washington Post reported. Two passengers apparently complained to flight staff after overhearing a suspicious remark among the Muslim travellers, the newspaper reported on Friday. The group, eight of whom are US citizens, were to board an AirTran flight bound for Orlando, Florida where they were to attend a religious retreat, and were eventually cleared for travel by the FBI, it said. The group included an anaesthesiologist and a lawyer. The children were aged seven, four and two. Five of the six adults in the party are of South Asian descent, and all six are traditionally Muslim in appearance, with the men wearing beards and the women in headscarves, according to The Post. The airline and FBI characterised the incident as a misunderstanding, but despite being cleared, AirTran reportedly refused to rebook the passengers, who paid for seats on another carrier. An AirTran spokesman agreed that it was a misunderstanding, but ,added, that its pilot had acted properly. Kashif Irfan, one of the offloaded passengers, told the Post that the problem unfolded after his brother, Atif, and the brother's wife discussed the safest place to sit on an airplane. The brother apparently looked out of the window and saw the jet engines next to his window. Fellow passengers apparently felt threatened and complained to the pilot, and two Federal Air Marshals on board then reported the matter to airport police. AirTran spokesman Tad Hutcheson agreed that the incident amounted to a misunderstanding but said the incident had been handled properly. 'At the end of the day, people got on and made comments they shouldn't have made on the airplane, and other people heard them', he was quoted as saying. 'It just so happened these people were of Muslim faith and appearance. It escalated, it got out of hand and everyone took precautions'. Hutcheson said AirTran is not likely to reimburse the passengers for the additional cost of their replacement tickets on USAirways. He said they were given a full refund for their AirTran fares and may fly on the carrier now that the investigation is complete. The detained passengers said that is not likely. 'It was an ordeal', said Abdur Razzak Aziz, the family friend who was also detained'. Nothing came out of it. It was paranoid people. It was very sad, he added.