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.
This racist white man refused to sit next to an elderly black woman on a Ryanair flight.
He called her an "ugly black bastard" & threatened to push her to another seat if she didn't move to another seat.
Ryanair – DOES NOTHING!!!
UK twitter identify HIM!!!
RETWEET THIS! pic.twitter.com/70XNsvTZBg
— StanceGrounded (@_SJPeace_) October 20, 2018
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)