Ryanair under fire for not removing passenger who harassed black woman on flight

PHOTO: Youtube/David Lawrence

Irish low-cost airline Ryanair is now facing the heat after its shoddy handling of a case of harassment on a flight from Barcelona to London.

In a video clip that has gone viral online, a white man is seen berating an elderly black woman for taking a seat near him before take-off.

"If you don't go to another seat, I'll push you to another seat," he said. The man could also be heard calling the woman "sickly", "fat" and "ugly".

The 77-year-old woman's daughter came to her defence, saying: "Who are you talking to? Don't shout at her. That's my mother; she's disabled."

The dispute was filmed by passenger David Lawrence on Oct 19.

Despite intervention from both flight attendants and other passengers, the man was not appeased and continued to raise his voice at the woman and her daughter.

According to the woman's daughter, the argument started after her mother, who has arthritis, struggled to make way for the man from her aisle seat.

What caused a furore, however, was how Ryanair's crew handled the situation. Instead of ejecting the male passenger from the flight, they asked the female passenger to move to another seat.

Lawrence posted the video clip on Facebook which has since amassed over 4.3 million views as of Monday afternoon (Oct 22).

He told the Washington Post: "Because there was no response from the other passengers on the flight at the time, I thought, 'Okay, well, somebody needs to know what happened here.'"

Many viewers took to the comments section, questioning the flight attendants' lack of rational decision making.

Photo: Youtube screengrab
Photo: Youtube screengrab

Following reports of the incident, the airline tweeted that it has made a police report.


Meanwhile, many netizens slammed Ryanair for its course of action, with most of them calling on the airline to take responsibility for the incident.

https://twitter.com/CeliaEquality/status/1054065202981990405 https://twitter.com/PositiveLad/status/1054228921208791040 https://twitter.com/richardadalton/status/1054087491563778049

After people threatened to boycott the airline, Ryanair told the BBC: "We operate strict guidelines for disruptive passengers and we will not tolerate unruly behaviour like this.

"We will be taking this matter further and disruptive or abusive behaviour like this will result in passengers being banned from travel."