Last week, a Sikh in New Zealand got on a Qantas flight from Queenstown to Auckland. You can guess what happened next … he got kicked off because the other passengers didn’t want him flying with them.
“People either side of me were saying they don’t want me on here … One of the ladies told another guy ‘I’m not comfortable with him on this plane’,” Mavi says. “She was talking to a whole group. The lady started it and then somebody went and spoke to the captain. The Qantas man requested me and said ‘You’re not allowed to travel in this plane because the passengers are not happy’…” [Link]
p>I hadn’t realized that commercial flights were like survivor, that the passengers are polled and one unlucky one is voted off. Silly me, I thought you paid, you got checked out by security, and you disembarked at your destination. Things seem to be a bit … different on the other side of the world.
p>Of course, Qantas has a different account of what happened. They say simply that:
A Qantas Airways spokesman from Sydney [said] … the passenger “displayed behaviour prior to boarding and on board before departure which concerned our staff”. After “careful consideration” a decision was made to offload the passenger. [Link]
p>What behavior was this? Simple – he went to the bathroom. [He was fixing his turban, but that's irrelevant to the story] Was that threatening? Here’s what another passenger had to say:
A Queenstowner on board recalls the flight attendant knocking on the toilet door “quite loud” and asking Mavi to return to his seat. “I remember thinking it was strange, the attendant’s urgency, when the front door of the plane was still open. He kept knocking. I thought, Give him a chance to pull his pants up,” the passenger says…. “Never did I think for a second that he was a threat.” [Link]
p>Remind me to eat lots of fiber before I board a flight next time. Sheesh.
p>An Australian lawyer friend of mine tells me that this was probably an illegal act on Qantas’ part. Here’s my suggestion – the next time a Qantas air host or hostess decides to break the rules, maybe it should be for something like this. As for me, unless I see an abject apology, I’m afraid I’m not going to fly Qantas in the future.