It seems only US airlines have gotten the memo not to involuntarily deny boarding to a passenger after they’re already in their seat.
An 11 year old boy was kicked off of Virgin Atlantic’s Shanghai – London Heathrow VS251 flight earlier this month. He had already boarded and was in his seat. And the fight itself wasn’t even oversold.
The family said the boy was left traumatised after the incident. He had already checked in and sat in his seat when he was removed from the flight on 9 July.
The boy had been booked on an ‘unaccompanied minors’ seat and was heading over to summer camp in Britain with a friend.
Copyright: boarding1now / 123RF Stock Photo
Reportedly regulations limit the flight to 8 unaccompanied minors, presumably so that there will be enough crew to monitor them. However Virgin Atlantic,
- Accepted more than 8 for travel on the July 9 flight
- Allowed them all to check in
So they booted the last child checked in, this 11 year old boy (and not his traveling companion for the trip to camp).
The family says that “More than 10 staff, including the captain and flight attendants came over and demanded him to get off the plane.”
The boy’s mother reports that he didn’t understand why he was being removed and he thought he must have done something wrong. He cried for hours. Virgin Atlantic says they kicked the boy off “with the customers wellbeing in mind.”
She says airline staff in Shanghai promised “a round-trip ticket for any Virgin Atlantic flight or a €400 gift card” but the compensation never materialized.
What’s more, in addition to failing to deliver compensation they even attempted to cheat the family out of what they were due. The child seems clearly entitled to 600 euros in cash for the involuntarily denied boarding causing him to arrive at his destination more than four hours late while traveling over 3500 kilometers under EU Regulation 261/2004.
Sadly it seems even 11 year olds need to know their rights or airlines will try to take advantage of them.