Ryanair Rewards Passenger For His Dramatic Racist Tirade

There’s an apocryphal story that’s made rounds on the internet since at least the late 1990s about a racist passenger complaining about being seated next to someone they deemed undesirable and demanding a flight attendant do something about it.

A 50-something year old white woman arrived at her seat on a crowded flight and immediately didn’t want the seat. The seat was next to a black man. Disgusted, the woman immediately summoned the flight attendant and demanded a new seat.

The woman said, “I cannot sit here next to this black man.”

The fight attendant said, “Let me see if I can find another seat.”

After checking, the flight attendant returned and stated “Ma’am, there are no more seats in economy, but I will check with the captain and see if there is something in first class.”

About 10 minutes went by and the flight attendant returned and stated “The captain has confirmed that there are no more seats in economy, but there is one in first class. It is our company policy to never move a person from economy to first class, but being that it would be some sort of scandal to force a person to sit next to an UNPLEASANT person, the captain agreed to make the switch to first class.”

Before the woman could say anything, the attendant gestured to the black man and said, “Therefore sir, if you would so kindly retrieve your personal items, we would like to move you to the comfort of first class as the captain doesn’t want you to sit next to an unpleasant person.”

This story was even turned into a public service advertisement in Portugal.

And that’s how it’s done. To be sure flying is incredibly small-d democratic. We’re all forced together inside a metal tube regardless of background. And when we’re next to someone unpleasant it’s not the airline’s fault nor should it be the airline that ought to compensate us. Really, the unpleasant person should do so — whether it’s racism, or bad behavior like clipping toenails inflight or making inappropriate advances.

Still when the airline is in a position to it’s a great way to drop the mic. And it’s a lesson, apparently, that Ryanair needs to learn after this video was shared on twitter (viewed over 1.4 million times) of a passenger insulting and refusing to sit next to a disabled elderly black woman on board flight FR15 from Barcelona to London Stansted on Friday.

He calls her an “ugly black bastard” and a “stupid ugly cow” as well as using language that you shouldn’t listen to if you’re reading this at work.

The airline apparently moved her from her aisle seat to quell the situation and satisfy the man. They apparently have not done anything at all for the victim here.

The man was told not to be rude and to calm down. It strikes me it would have been advisable to remove him from the aircraft to avoid the potential for a diversion.

(HT: One Mile at a Time)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I refuse to fly this airline as the standard is set by its rude CEO who said to expect nothing and you’ll never be disappointed!

    Ghastly man. Ghastly airline.

    They woman should sue !

  2. This didn’t happen in America and we don’t know what happened beforehand. Europe is not a melting pot like America is.

  3. The Flight attendant attitude and behaviours are appaling,he should be the first to be kicked out,pathetic .

  4. That flight attendant should be disciplined for allowing that racist to remain on the flight. That kind of behavior is unacceptable.

  5. @William Y.; “Europe is not a melting pot like America is.” Wow, so you think Europe consists of a single, perfectly-harmonious, uniform-across-the-board, place?? Just, wow!

    Besides, since when being or not being in a ‘melting pot’ excuses racist behaviour? Racism, by definition, is how (badly) someone behaves towards a person of different race.

  6. Does Spain have hate crime type laws? The US has free speech protections, but typically European countries do not, correct?
    This situation may have been so unusual that the Ryanair person did not know how to handle it. Nine out of ten times, the offensive behavior would be told to leave. Maybe put on another flight, or refunded his $59(?) plane ticket so he could find an alternative means of travel. Just don’t let him fly Ryanair. That should teach him

  7. Ugh, Britain, Britain, Britain…Once a mighty empire, today a depressing welfare state filled with racists, xenophobes and antisemites. And with Jeremy Corbin as PM it can only go down hill even further….Yuck.

  8. Yeah, bc Theresa May and that total whack-a-doodle, Boris Johnson, are doing such a great job!

    Anyhow, and getting back to airlines:

    Yet again, Ryanair proves why it’s a deplorable airline to fly that’s only interested in fleecing its passengers while it treats them like dirt.

    If it can’t distinguish between “right” and “wrong” in a situation like this, then it certainly makes clear it has NO CONCEPT of right and wrong at all.

    Not that any of its other passenger hostile policies and actions to date contradict that anyway…

    A pathetic, shameful, lack of response by a company that long ago proved it has no sense of morality, and no soul.

    Exhibit “A” of gross corporate irresponsibility and bad “citizenship” if ever there was one for an industry that used to view itself as being as much about transportating PEOPLE from point “A” to point “B” as it was about viewing its FARE PAYING customers as worthy of a modicum of decency and respect for “choosing” to fly one airline in preference to another.

    Finally, maybe it’s time those whose hearts are filled with hate to keep their racist rants and other irrational prejudices to themselves.

    After all, and especially in an era where virtually everyone has a video recorder at the ready, do you really want the world to see you looking like such spectacularly ignorant fools?

    Just sayin’ 😉

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