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As pilot strikes die down, airline racism row flares up

October 23, 2018 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Just as Ryanair is coming close to solving its long-running pilots’ dispute, a foul-mouthed passenger’s racial abuse of an elderly woman on one of its flights – captured on video – has put the airline’s reputation into a new nosedive.

The latest incident involves a middle-aged man in a bad mood who racially abused another passenger, a woman in her 70s, in an argument over seating. The rant, which took place while a flight to London Stansted was boarding in Barcelona, has led to people accusing Ryanair of being soft on racism.

The incident on Friday was recorded by a fellow passenger and shared on social media, bringing accusations that the airline hadn’t been firm enough in dealing with an obnoxious racist tirade.

Critics are demanding to know why the man responsible was not immediately removed from the flight. He met all the criteria for removal, being angry, abusive and agitated and swearing in a loud voice while launching a harangue.

Instead of removing the man from the flight (a passenger can be heard suggesting that) Ryanair’s cabin crew seemed keener to move the female passenger, who the man was cursing, to another seat.

In the wake of the incident, people are threatening to boycott Ryanair.  The airline has referred the matter to police and says it “will not tolerate unruly behaviour like this”.

It tolerated the behaviour when it happened, however, as the video shows, rather than confronting it.

The film has been viewed on Facebook more than 5 million times (now approaching 6 million) and has made headlines around the world. The man can be heard racially abusing the woman and threatening to “push” her to another seat.

He shouts at her: “Don’t talk to me in a f***ing foreign language, you stupid ugly cow!” and then: “Ugly black bastard!”

A young man seated in the row behind can be seen intervening and telling the angry man to stop.

A Ryanair attendant says to the man: “Don’t be so rude, you have to calm down.” That’s the worst that happened to the man.

MEANWHILE, on a different matter, Ryanair says it has signed agreements on seniority and base transfers with three unions representing its UK, Portugal and Italy-based pilots.

This may help smooth down the industrial action that has plagued Ryanair in recent months, though the British union, BALPA, has stressed that there can be no deal until its members vote on the issue.

Written by Peter Needham

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