An 87-year old claims a British Airways FA repeatedly blocked her as she tried to use the lavatory during an extended ground delay at LAX.
Although the Daily Mail unnecessarily sensationalizes the incident, they get the emphasis right: the FA action. The story, to me, centers on whether an FA overreacted or whether the victim simply misunderstood.
Here’s word from the woman’s daughter–
She got a pain in her kidneys from holding her bladder for so long. She isn’t incontinent, there’s nothing wrong with her, but she is an elderly woman and when you have to go, you have to go.
…’My mother was so furious at being told she couldn’t go to the toilet that she asked for the air stewardess’ name.
‘She said it was Mandy. She said, ‘I’m going to go to the toilet whether you like it or not’. She stood up to go to the bathroom and the stewardess blocked her path in the aisle. She said, ‘You’re not going to the toilet’ and stood in front of her.
She asked to speak to Mandy’s manager, who came over but said they couldn’t help her.
British Airways issued the following statement–
We are very sorry that our customer had such a distressing experience and have been in contact to apologise.
Our highly trained cabin crew always work to make our customers as comfortable as possible, but Civil Aviation Authority safety rules stipulate everyone must remain seated with their seatbelts on after the aircraft has started moving.
The safety and security of our customers is always our top priority.
And this is a reasonable response…to a degree.
There is no way that the plane was “moving” or on an active taxiway for 90 minutes. No chance.
So the question is did the 87-year-old simply not understand that she only could not get up while the plane was moving…or….did the FAs keep her down even while the aircraft was parked, presumably for at least an hour, waiting for clearance to takeoff?
Perhaps the captain simply failed to inform customers that they could use their phones or lavatory during the delay. Perhaps it was one of those delays where they had to be ready at a moment’s notice to takeoff. That’s all not clear. What is clear the woman could not hold it and sat in wet clothes humiliated for 10 hours.
British Airways did not offer compensation. I don’t think they are obligated to if the issue truly was one of safety. Still, a little compassion goes a long way. So does a little common sense. If there was any opportunity during the long delay (and I have to imagine there was…), Mandy should have ran over and escorted the senior citizen to the loo…
(H/T View from the Wing)
p.s. If it were me and I could not hold it, I would have asked the FA if she wanted me go on the aisle floor in front of her or in the lavatory. That’s not a joke…