Old Oct 13, 09, 8:17 am
tony flynn
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: London & Surrey
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Humiliated businesswoman frog-marched off British Airways flight in row over mobile

From today's Daily Mail By Ian Evans.


British Airways has been accused of ‘arrogance and rudeness’ after a passenger was thrown off one its flights in a row over a mobile phone.

Leisha Ward was escorted from a BA plane at Johannesburg airport in South Africa after clashing with a flight attendant over whether her handset was switched off.

The sales manager said she suffered from 'absolute humiliation' during the incident which was sparked when she made a call as passengers were still boarding.

She turned her mobile phone off when the standard announcement to 'switch off cellular phones and electronic equipment' was made.

A male flight attendant then said to her: 'Must I turn your phone off for you, or must I ask the pilot to turn it off'.

Ward approached the flight attendant to ask for his details so she could report the incident to British Airways.

She said the flight attendant ignored her, entered the cockpit, and on returning, said: 'I will arrange for the door to this aircraft to be opened whereupon you may remove yourself, should you not comply with company rules and regulations by turning your cellphone off.'

Ms Ward added: 'I was in absolute shock at what I was hearing, and so totally bewildered that my jaw dropped open.'

What followed was an announcement from the captain apologising for the delay saying: 'We have a passenger on board who is failing to comply with the safety rules and regulations of this aircraft. We will therefore be escorting them off this flight.'

The businesswoman was then frog-marched off the flight - even though other passengers spoke up for her.

In a letter to BA, fellow passenger Eloise Nezar called the incident a ‘most unfortunate display of arrogance, rudeness and total lack of respect by your flight attendant’ adding that the treatment of Mrs Ward was ‘despicable’.

The company disputed the claim and said it had no option but to inform the captain who then had her marched off the afternoon flight.

BA told the South African newspaper the Star that she was ‘unlikely to obey any emergency or safety instruction given by the crew in the event of an emergency and so she was offloaded’.

It said a flight attendant asked sales manager Mrs Ward to turn off the phone three times after seeing her talking on the handset.
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