British Airways kicked a family off a flight to Turin last week when a row erupted over the children’s nanny being downgraded from Business to Economy Class. Cabin crew allegedly refused to let the nanny sit with the young children in a spare seat in BA’s Club Europe Business Class and instead called police to have the family escorted off the aircraft.
Charles Banner, 41, said the cabin crew had been “rude” and that he had “behaved perfectly” when he continued to challenge them over their refusal to upgrade the nanny into a spare Business Class seat.
Banner is an accomplished Barrister and specialises in planning law. His wife also practices law and they both wanted to get some work done during the hour and a half flight to Turin, Italy where they were headed with their two children, aged one and four, for a ski holiday.
The family had spent £1,250 for all five of them to be seated in Club Europe but when they got to the gate they discovered that the flight had been oversold and the nanny had been downgraded to Economy.
Once onboard, Banner discovered that BA’s short-haul Business Class is just a row of three standard seats with the middle one blocked out. He asked the cabin crew if the nanny could sit in the middle seat between the two youngsters but was allegedly rebuffed by one crew member who told him: “You wish”.
“If BA had told me that the nanny could not sit with us in business then we would not have travelled and could have got a later flight. But they only told us that when we got to the boarding gate,” Banner told MailOnline.
“I behaved perfectly but I was challenging the cabin crew because it was the right thing to do. The pettiness and vindictiveness of the staff caused this. I was being very polite about the whole thing”.
Banner says the cabin crew were “gaslighting” him by refusing to explain why they wouldn’t let the nanny sit in the spare seat and ignored his repeated attempts to secure an upgrade for the nanny by saying he would receive compensation instead.
“I indicated to the cabin crew that I had made a complaint about their behaviour to BA. Rather than apologise, the cabin crew then asked the pilot not to fly either the two kids aged four and one, their mother, the nanny or myself, which was a gross over-reaction to our understandable upset.”
By this point, however, the Airbus A320 had already left the gate and was taxiing to the runway when the pilot turned the aircraft around and arranged for police to meet the plane.
In response to this incident, British Airways has publicly stated that it doesn’t “tolerate disruptive behaviour and the safety of our customers and crew is our top priority.” Privately, the airline has offered the family compensation in the form of future travel vouchers.
Although police met the aircraft, no crime was reported. British Airways flight BA2578 arrived in Turin 90 minutes late following the upgrade drama.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.