When a TAP Air Portugal flight from Accra to Sao Tome (the second leg of a continuing flight from Lisbon) was overbooked by three, the airline didn’t seek volunteers but instead selected 3 passengers at the gate to bump.
Usually passengers without seat assignments are at greatest risk of a bump, but two of the women had had their seats assigned for three months. Often the last passengers to check in might be at risk of being bumped, but they checked in early for the flight.
I’m not sure how the passengers determined whom they were being bumped for but they believe it’s black women being displaced for white passengers,
The officials needed their seats for some 3 caucians and they looked at their face and because they were black, young girls they were the natural targets.
The passengers refused re-accommodation on the next flight, TAP’s service is three times weekly. The 596 mile route is served by no other airline.
Copyright: rebius / 123RF Stock Photo
There was a bit of a tussle at the gate,
Tap Portugal officials then call in airport security who manhandled them and literally dragged them away from the waiting area. That’s assault.
Luckily, they reported to the airport police, got a medical report done and they are going to sue Tap Portugal, sue the Airport Security and sue everyone involved in this.
Though it’s clear that the passengers never boarded the flight and had their altercation with staff in the gate area, the incident is being reported as “them forcibly pushed off the flight by Airport Security” which raises the specter of what happened to David Dao on a United Express flight in April.
I suspect several things are going on,
- Airlines don’t clearly communicate what’s going on to customers
- Customers jump to conclusions as a result
- American passengers are sometimes jealous of European passenger rights legislation but by world standard customers are treated very well
Flying TAP Air Portugal out of Ghana is a very different experience than flying United from Chicago (David Dao notwithstanding) despite both airlines being members of the Star Alliance.