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British Airways Boots Lawyer Family From Flight When Nanny is Refused a Seat in Business Class

British Airways Boots Lawyer Family From Flight When Nanny is Refused a Seat in Business Class

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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.

View Comments (5)
    • For an hour and a half flight who cares? Only the righteous, entitled lawyer and the lawyer wife, that’s who. Sit and and shut up so the rest of the folks can get to their vacation while you work out your grievances with the airline at some later point. I hope they are all, many included, put on the British version of the “no-fly list”.

    • Its blocked off with a table tray in ‘business class’. Business class seats on BA short haul are the same seats as economy, only with the middle seat blocked with a piece of plastic. Absolutely no reason one of the parents couldn’t have looked after their own children for a 90 min flight. If the work was neccessary to have been completed during that specific 90 mins by both parents then they need to employ better time management. Sounds to me like they boarded with an air of arrogance that wasn’t well received any anyone else.

  • The pendulum has swung too far in favor of cabin crew! If a young family with two toddler-ish age group wants the nanny, for whom they paid for business class, what’s the big deal! Arrogance by the crew is similar to arrogance by police! Once an entity feels invulnerable, they will act as petty tyrants as they are far lower in the social strata to even a middle manager!!

    • Most of the time we agree with the passenger but have certain procedures to follow. For example personally I couldn’t care less if a customer would sit in an extra legroom seat without paying but it’s a procedure that my company expects me to follow. There is a way to go about it and I would never say something like “You wish” to a customer but that’s simply because I don’t want to be involved into any drama.

      In this case the crew was simply following a procedure (I assume the system wouldn’t let them upgrade anyone because the capacity in the system was full despite there being available seats). I understand that as a passenger you might not think about that but to be this rude about it and personally insult a whole profession says more about you than you think.

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