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Business Class Passenger Gives New Meaning to “Do Not Disturb”

Business Class Passenger Gives New Meaning to “Do Not Disturb”
Joe Cortez

A British Airways flyer stands accused of racially aggravated abuse after cabin crewmembers claim he went on a tirade after being woken up during a flight. Prosecutors say after belittling the flight attendant, he demanded service from a “white girl,” while the defense claims the comments were taken out of context.

One British Airways flyer is accused of taking “do not disturb” too far, after he allegedly yelled and used racially-charged language at a flight attendant. The London Economic reports 46-year-old Peter Nelson stands on trial for racially aggravated abuse over the incident.

Nelson was a passenger aboard a flight from London Heathrow Airport (LHR) to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on June 2, 2018, when the alleged incident took place. During the flight, the prosecution says he was awoken by a cabin crew member, Sima Patel-Pryke. Afterward, the prosecution claims Nelson went over the line with his language.

Prosecutors accuse Nelson of telling the flight attendant: “You Asians think you are better than us, I don’t want to be served by you lot, I’ve paid your wages for the last 20 years.” From there, the allegations state he continued to berate her, demanding to be served from a “white girl.”

Records produced by the prosecution suggest other flight attendants prepared a restraint kit in the event they were forced to return Nelson to his seat. Prosecuting attorneys say that the alleged behavior was tantamount to bullying, ranting and shouting.

“He accused the defendant of shouting very loudly to add to the menace that he was exuding,” crown prosecutor Michael Tanney said in court, according to The London Economic. “That was when the white girl reference was allegedly made.”

Defense attorneys told the court that the allegations against Nelson were taken out of proportion. While his language may not have been polite, the defense claims it falls short of racism.

“Mr. Nelson accepts he was tired, petulant, churlish,” defense attorney Lauren Sales told the court, as quoted by the newspaper. “He said, ‘He didn’t want that one serving him, he wanted another one’ – maybe words that you and I might not use to speak to cabin crew, but certainly not racist.”

The court has not levied a verdict in Nelson’s case. The trial is continuing in Isleworth Crown Court.


[Featured Image: British Airways]

View Comments (3)


  1. alphaod

    September 11, 2019 at 7:49 am

    Yes it was rude, perhaps racist. But a crime? We are too sensitive these days.

  2. AADFW

    September 11, 2019 at 8:00 am

    Racism is evil, but it’s also evil to criminally prosecute someone simply for hurting another person’s feelings.

  3. BSpeaker

    September 13, 2019 at 11:42 am

    I just don’t want to fly all that much anymore. TSA starts it with major drama at check-in. With airlines squeezing us in and tormenting us with rushed schedules, tight connections, crappy food, charges for everything from our seat to our bags, it’s no wonder people get cranky. This is tantamount to pounding on someone’s head for 4 hours and then complaining when they shove you and tell you to knock it off. I remember that behavior from my kid brother when we were pre-school. But now we get it in spades on what used to be wonderful air trips. I drive as much as possible.

    I wasn’t there. I don’t know what was really said or why. But just the comment about paying for their salaries for 20 years tells you it’s a frequent flyer who probably remembers when we were treated as valuable customers by the airlines and the airports. From the little that’s reported and from the recent stories in Brit papers about the stupid PC laws they’ve enacted, I’m gonna stand in the flyer’s shoes and cut him some slack.

    We have become far too easily offended and too delicate. Lord knows how people will react when there’s an actual problem…

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