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“I Left British Airways Because It Refused to Stop Deportations”

“I Left British Airways Because It Refused to Stop Deportations”
Jennifer Billock

Recently, a British Airways flight attendant decided to leave her position after coming face to face with the tragedies of deportation — including one incident where a man being deported died inflight because he wasn’t being listened to while he was restrained. She shared her story with the Independent.

Elizabeth Beard, a former British Airways flight attendant, recently took a hard stand against her employer because the airline would not stop assisting with deportations, she decided to leave her position.

Beard started her career with British Airways fresh out of school, excited to see the world with a respected airline. During her employment, she took time off to work with refugees and in refugee camps.

“It was during this time that I became so vividly aware of the contrast in my experience of flying and travel to those being deported,” Beard wrote for the Independent. “… The violent and abrasive contrast of holidaymakers versus those being forcibly removed from their friends, family and homes and taken to places where they are unsafe or maybe subject to persecution and torture, was staggering.”

Deportations generally happen using consumer airlines, where refugees are deported alongside paying travelers on vacations. Situations like this led to an entire British Airways flight witnessing the death of Jimmy Mubenga, who was crying that he couldn’t breathe and was ignored.

“How can a company as established as British Airways ask their employees to aid this abhorrent and dysfunctional process?” Beard asked in her piece. “British Airways claims to be an inclusive employer which upholds so-called ‘British values.’ I would like to ask them what values they think they’re upholding by carrying out these deportations; who exactly are they benefiting aside from a divisive governmental regime?”

Beard’s questions to British Airways were always met with the airline telling her they had no choice. But she has noticed other airlines end their deportation involvement. And with that contradiction, she left her position.

 

[Featured Image: British Airways]

View Comments (22)

22 Comments

  1. hfb606

    August 21, 2019 at 8:17 pm

    Yawn. Who cares?

  2. Dublin_rfk

    August 22, 2019 at 3:54 am

    I’d like to leave a detailed response to this BUT opposing political views are extremely offensive to some people.

  3. Tailgater

    August 22, 2019 at 8:27 am

    Does FA propose open borders? Because, if country entry requirements aren’t enforced that’s what you have. As far as the fatal restraint, that’s unacceptable, it probably wan’t executed correctly and air passage was blocked by weight on chest or something.

  4. strickerj

    August 22, 2019 at 9:39 am

    Is there evidence that deportees are routinely mistreated rather than Mubenga being an anomaly? And when did “refugee” become a stand-in for illegal immigrant? (Refugee has a pretty specific meaning; not all migrants are refugees.)

    The crux of Beard’s issue is this line: “who exactly are they benefiting aside from a divisive governmental regime?” Translation: my party isn’t in power, so everything this one does is bad. It’s the same crap here in the U.S. (from both sides, lest anyone make judgements about my political affiliation).

  5. polinka

    August 22, 2019 at 11:50 am

    How many “refugees” did Beard offer to take into her home and provide shelter, food, healthcare and all for free?

  6. pagophilus

    August 22, 2019 at 2:40 pm

    Was he restrained because he refused to cooperate? Countries have borders, countries have rules about who can cross those borders and under what circumstances, and occasionally people need to be deported. If they cause trouble they will be restrained.

  7. bigal4u

    August 23, 2019 at 5:11 am

    Beard by name, idiot by nature!!, how many of these deportee criminals are living with her??

  8. tromboneboss

    August 23, 2019 at 5:14 am

    Beard clearly has no knowledge of immigration law. Refugees are not deported. Illegal border crossers are deported. Please read up on the difference and please read up on the problems a country will suffer with large amounts of illegal border crossings into a country.

  9. weero

    weero

    August 23, 2019 at 5:14 am

    How does she propose those who abuse the asylum system get deported? In a container? What better way is there than on a full service carrier that provides food, drinks, and movies ???

    Or is she simply against law and order?

  10. mhrb

    August 23, 2019 at 5:50 am

    Shame the others remain complicit.

  11. alexmyboy

    August 23, 2019 at 6:06 am

    lot of unsympathetic morons making comments

  12. kc1174

    August 23, 2019 at 9:24 am

    I think it’s right she take a stand for personal reasons, and whether or not BA choose to allow these pax is their choice, however I’m pretty sure whoever wants to transport passengers for whatever reason and has the correct documentation to do so can do regardless of airline. Unfortunately her actions just put her out of a job. Why not instead take this up with BA management as a collective with other FAs and other pax on this flight and see if BA can change their policies or add a policy on deportations assuming there is no existing policy? Quitting and going to the press may work, but collective objection presented to BA is more likely to work. Either way, this pax was going to be deported anyway – whether on BA or any other airline.

  13. brobin

    August 23, 2019 at 10:18 am

    BA is better off without her.

  14. Morgacj2004

    August 23, 2019 at 12:26 pm

    Excuse me but coming into a country illegally or overstaying is a crime period you can rationalize all you want. BA is just following the law. There will be 5000 applicants for her job that don’t care about this policy

  15. OUTraveling

    August 23, 2019 at 1:25 pm

    Is she going to be like the Swedish girl that protested the deportations of the “migrant” who ended up being a violent domestic abuser. Sorry, countries have laws and if migrants violate them then they need to leave.

  16. ulxima

    August 23, 2019 at 8:35 pm

    “How many “refugees” did Beard offer to take into her home and provide shelter, food, healthcare and all for free?”
    Same as you, if you pay taxes. Otherwise more than you do.

  17. ulxima

    August 23, 2019 at 8:36 pm

    I flew one of these flights and the experience as passenger is horrendous.

  18. Counsellor

    August 26, 2019 at 8:02 am

    If she wishes to side with criminals, I’m pretty sure BA doesn’t want her anyway.

  19. Dhamal

    August 27, 2019 at 5:20 am

    Good Riddance, if she can’t follow rules and regulation of a country, BA is better off without here..

  20. jrpallante

    August 27, 2019 at 9:38 am

    How else would FA suggest transporting illegal invaders?

  21. npturner

    August 29, 2019 at 5:32 am

    This point was interesting;

    “… The violent and abrasive contrast of holidaymakers versus those being forcibly removed from their friends, family and homes and taken to places where they are unsafe or maybe subject to persecution and torture, was staggering.”

    This implies that the holiday makers are going to unsafe places if they are on the same flight?

    Don’t get me wrong, there are places in the world which are great to visit on holiday, but terrible if you live there without money or a job (Such as South Africa), but Id guess many of the deported she was flying with were going to places such as West African countries.

  22. Mike2

    September 13, 2019 at 5:51 pm

    The first line of this article assumes that British Airways is still a respected brand. This is a massive assumption and I would agree that after a series of very public and damaging gaffes the airline is no longer internationally respected. They seem to have a CEO and management team who are ‘sitting on their laurels’.

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