The full ghastly details of the BA flight which diverted to Lajes airbase, on the Portuguese island of Terceira in the Azores to evict two passengers has now been splashed over mainstream as well as social media. The 65-year-old passenger who wanted to be allowed to sit in the comfort of business class was a diabetic, also suffering from cancer, whose leg had begun to swell uncomfortably while he was cramped in economy class.
Jamaican Kwame Bantu appears simply to have wanted the luxury of being able to stretch his legs.
Instead he was repeatedly asked to return to his seat, and when he refused, was “forcibly restrained by cabin crew”.
According to a report in the Daily Mail, the restraints involved straps round his shoulders, hands and ankles, and he was also handcuffed.
When he said that he wanted to go to the lavatory, the Mail claims stewards told him to “defecate in his seat”.
This information came from the businesswoman who was wrongly portrayed as Mr Bantu’s partner (click here).
Joy Stoney was in fact travelling on the Gatwick to Kingston, Jamaica, flight independently, but when she saw the way Mr Bantu was being treated, she told the Mail: “I know from caring for my mother that if you restrain a diabetic, they’re going to need the toilet”.
Ms Stoney’s attempts to help Mr Bantu ended up with her ejection from the flight as well once it touched down in what the Mail described as a remote military airbase on a Portuguese island.
British Airways has since said that “caring for our customers is our highest priority, and we continue to investigate all the circumstances surrounding this incident”.
Further details are doubtless likely to follow. It is still uncertain how Mr Bantu and Ms Stoney left Terceira island. Reports suggest they were removed by Portuguese police and were not even allowed to take their luggage.
As the Mail explained, this is not the first time BA has been criticised of the way it treats its passengers.
The paper described a “barrage of complaints by customers about poor service on BA flights” and legroom, which has been cut from 30 inches to 29 on some of its planes “an inch less than on Ryanair planes”.
Only a week ago, the new president of Ghana criticised the airline for the “shoddy” way it treats its customers, saying it takes its passengers “a little for granted”.
Mr Bantu told the Mail that he was “treated like a slave”.
“I was completely humiliated”, he added. “My human rights had been taken away from me. I didn’t even have the energy to fight them because my blood pressure would have gone even higher”.