Ryanair have been criticised after failing to remove a passenger who was spouting vile racist abuse at a woman in the same row as him, after her disability resulted in her “not moving quickly enough” for him to get to his seat.
The incident was filmed by David Lawrence, another passenger on the flight, and shows the man launching into a tirade of racist abuse and ableist abuse at the 77-year-old woman on the Ryanair flight from Barcelona to London Stansted on Friday.
The airline has been heavily criticised for failing to remove the man from the flight, and for doing little to intervene in the situation save an attendant telling the enraged man that he had to calm down. MP David Lammy suggested that people boycott Ryanair if the airline thinks that “it’s ok for a racist man to abuse an elderly black woman and remain on the plane.”
Speaking exclusively to the Huffington Post, the woman’s daughter said the incident occurred before the flight took off in Barcelona after the man felt her mother had taken too long to move out of the way for him to get into his seat.
It goes on to show him furiously raising his voice at her, calling her an “ugly black bastard,” an “ugly fucking c**t,” shouting “don’t talk to me in a foreign language you stupid ugly cow,” and adding “if you don’t go to another seat I’ll push you to another seat.”
When her daughter intervened, telling the man that her mother is disabled – as she lives with arthritis – he shouts: “I don’t care whether she’s fucking disabled or not, if I tell her to get out she gets out.”
Talking to the Huffington Post, the woman said: “Mum’s really feeling upset and very stressed about this situation.”
“As for me, I’m upset about the whole thing too – the fact that the passenger wasn’t taken off the plane and how the situation was dealt with.”
She added that when she complained to cabin crew regarding the incident, they denied hearing the man say any racial slurs, and told her to call customer services on Monday. The woman says that they have still not heard from Ryanair regarding what happened on the flight.
While politicians, including MSP Stuart McMillan and MP Karl Turner – among many others – have stepped forward to condemn both the man and Ryanair for their handling of the incident, the airline has remained tight-lipped, only tweeting that they were aware of the incident, and have made Essex police aware.
A spokesperson for Essex police said: “This incident, which we were made aware of this morning, is believed to have taken place on a plane at Barcelona airport. Essex police takes prejudice-based crime seriously and we want all incidents to be reported.
“We are working closely with Ryanair and the Spanish authorities on the investigation.”Get your copy of UNITE Magazine