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Humiliated businesswoman frog-marched off British Airways flight in row over mobile

Humiliated businesswoman frog-marched off British Airways flight in row over mobile

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Old Oct 13, 09, 9:17 am
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Humiliated businesswoman frog-marched off British Airways flight in row over mobile

From today's Daily Mail By Ian Evans.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worl...ile-phone.html

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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Old Oct 13, 09, 9:19 am
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There are two sides to every story which even the Daily Mail acknowledges in the last sentence of the article.

Some pax are extremely OTT with phones.
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Old Oct 13, 09, 9:23 am
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The flight was operated Comair, a BA franchise carrier that flies within South Africa and neighbouring countries.

Lovely picture of BA 747's to go with the article, though .
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Old Oct 13, 09, 9:25 am
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Was the phone switched off or wasn't it?

Was the woman offloaded because she refused to switch off the phone or because she got into an altercation with the FA?

This is very unclear - unsurprising for the Daily Mail.
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Old Oct 13, 09, 9:25 am
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Originally Posted by KenJohn View Post
There are two sides to every story which even the Daily Mail acknowledges in the last sentence of the article.

Some pax are extremely OTT with phones.
Absolutely.
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Old Oct 13, 09, 9:52 am
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Originally Posted by KenJohn View Post
There are two sides to every story which even the Daily Mail acknowledges in the last sentence of the article.

Some pax are extremely OTT with phones.
There's more to this than has been reported. I am reminded of an experience flying home from YYC last summer where the passenger across the aisle from Mrs BC was barking into his phone even as the plane was taxiing for take off. Quite irresponsible and completely disrespectful behaviour. On that occasion we had him silenced and he spent the next eight hours glaring at us.
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Old Oct 13, 09, 10:04 am
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I find it difficult to believe that the passenger would (be asked to) leave the aircraft without something serious happening.
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Old Oct 13, 09, 10:36 am
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Originally Posted by Sixth Freedom View Post
I find it difficult to believe that the passenger would (be asked to) leave the aircraft without something serious happening.
Exactly. And there is a big hole in the article into which this key part of the incident falls.
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Old Oct 13, 09, 1:04 pm
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It's the Daily Fail, the gutter of journalism.
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Old Oct 13, 09, 1:04 pm
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If what is reported is correct, and no apology and restitution is forthcoming, then she should seek legal advice from a defamation expert. Several individuals, as well as the company, were presumably negligent as well. However, I also expect that there is more to the story.
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Old Oct 13, 09, 5:02 pm
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I find it difficult to believe that the passenger would (be asked to) leave the aircraft without something serious happening.
Agreed; I find it unlikely that someone would actually be offloaded if they turned off the phone and apologised profusely.

If what is reported is correct, and no apology and restitution is forthcoming, then she should seek legal advice from a defamation expert.
Which would go nowhere, as the Captain is the sole legal authority, who is permitted to take any reasonable action to ensure safe operation of the flight at any time. There is no recourse through "defamation" where the Captain acted on his/her reasonable belief that there may be any risk to flight safety.

Which leads up back to the hole in the story.
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Old Oct 13, 09, 6:21 pm
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Old Oct 13, 09, 6:23 pm
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Originally Posted by Lucifer UK View Post
Which would go nowhere, as the Captain is the sole legal authority, who is permitted to take any reasonable action to ensure safe operation of the flight at any time.
No arguments there, however I don't think that gives him/her parliamentary privilege and he/she is still responsible in law for his/her actions.
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Old Oct 13, 09, 6:28 pm
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Yes two sides, I bet the American who was so irritated on one of my flights would have had the same .....y write up in the mail if he had said something to them despite it being a non complaining incident. If you are endangering the plane or look like you might then you should be shown the door.

I did mention to someone at BA that I found stocking that rag on flights and in the lounges, was a little odd given the way they seem to hate BA so passionately.
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Old Oct 13, 09, 9:15 pm
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Somewhat OT, why doesn't BA allow cell phones until the door opens when others have adopted a policy to allow phones to be switched on upon landing?

More OT, why can we send a man to the moon and not enable cell phones or electronics during take off or landing or any other time during the flight (maybe it's all to force us to pay attention to the Cabin Crew in case of an emergency)?

Last edited by nologic; Oct 13, 09 at 9:23 pm
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