Sunday, 21 October 2018

Passengers racist rant on a Ryanair flight referred to police only after public outcry.

The Budget airline with the low-fare high-fee policy, Ryanair is at the centre of yet another row after it allowed a passenger who was racially abusing a fellow traveller to remain on the flight and the person he abused had to move seats.

In a shocking outburst of aggression and racism captured on video and shared on social media, now seen by more than two million people, shows the man being racially abusive to a black woman in her seventies, even threatening to push her to another seat. 

A fellow passenger on the flight, David Lawrence, filmed the incident explained what happened to BBC radio, "Everything was calm, we were getting ready to take off. And then a man came on board and arrived at his seat, then spoke very harshly to a woman sitting in the aisle seat.

"That was what got my attention as it was very loud and very aggressive. He started to shout at the woman, saying 'get out of the way', 'move your feet', 'you shouldn't be sitting here'." He also shouts at her: "Don't talk to me in a foreign language, you stupid ugly cow."

The incident occurred on Friday on the Ryanair aircraft at Barcelona getting ready to fly to London Stanstead.  Mr Lawrence advised that initially none of the flight attendants came over to help or clam the situation. He explained that the lady's daughter, who was sitting elsewhere on the aircraft had to come over and "an argument started". "He pushed past the woman and went to his seat," Mr Lawrence said, that is what's seen in the video then unfolded - describing it as the "most disgusting exchange of racial slurs and foul language".

The lady's daughter spoke to The Huffington Post and advised them that her mother, who is 77 years old, has arthritis and it might have taken her some time to move out of the way for the man. She told them how she had taken her mother, a Windrush Generation migrant who travelled from Jamaica to the UK in the sixties, on holiday to mark the first anniversary of her husband's death.  "I know that if I was behaving like he was - or any other black person for that matter - police would have been called and we would have been kicked off the flight." she said, adding added: "Mum's really feeling upset and very stressed about this situation, on top of the grief she's already experiencing. As for me, I'm upset about the whole thing too - the fact that the passenger wasn't taken off the plane and how the situation was dealt with."

The video has been viewed by nearly two million people since being posted, raising much criticism of Ryanair and their lack of action during the incident. Most people believe the airline should have removed the man from the flight. In the video the man can be heard shouting at pensioner to move seats while her daughter tries to stand up to him, telling him her mother is disabled. He shouts back "I don't care whether she's fu*king disabled or not - if I tell her to get out she gets out." The man takes his window seat and the lady in the aisle seat, he points to the middle seat and rants: "I hope somebody sits there because I don't want to sit next to you and your ugly face, your ugly f**king face."

Many people on social media have expressed disgust at the attitude of Ryanair, who ironically claim "We will not tolerate unruly behaviour like this." which it just had.  Essex police said it had been made aware of the incident, saying, "Essex Police takes prejudice-based crime seriously and we want all incidents to be reported. We are working closely with Ryanair and the Spanish authorities on the investigation.".  Ryanair only reported it to the police after the video had been viewed by more than a million people and was facing a public backlash. 

Our chief aviation correspondent Jason Shaw suggests that one of the reasons why Ryanair didn't call the police or have the man removed from the flight was money, "If they off-loaded this rude and aggressive man it would take time, time for the Spanish police to get to the aircraft, time to have the man removed, time to search for and remove any hold baggage he had." he explains, "All that time would have caused the aircraft to miss its take-off slot, as they operate on the tightest possible turnarounds. It would also have a knock on effect to the rest of the aircraft's flight schedule, which could cost Ryanair even more money - and they don't like to lose a single penny!"

(Photos Ryanair / stills taken from David Lawrence video)