When a storm arose last week over the children’s nanny being downgraded from Business to Economy Class, British Airways removed a family of a trip to Turin.
Cabin personnel allegedly refused to let the nanny sit in an empty seat in BA’s Club Europe Business Class with the small children, instead of calling the police and having the family taken off the plane.
When he proceeded to challenge the cabin crew over their refusal to upgrade the nanny into a spare Business Class seat, Charles Banner, 41, said the cabin crew had been “rude” and that he had “behaved perfectly.”
Banner is an experienced Barrister with a focus on planning law. His wife is a lawyer, and they both intended to get some work done on the hour-and-a-half trip to Turin, Italy, where they were going on a ski vacation with their two children, ages one and four.
The family had paid £1,250 to seat all five of them in Club Europe, but when they arrived at the gate, they learned that the aircraft had been oversold, and the nanny had been relegated to Economy.
When Banner boarded the plane, he learned that BA’s short-haul Business Class is little more than a row of three ordinary seats with the middle one blocked out. He allegedly requested the cabin crew whether the nanny may sit in the middle seat between the two children, but was told, “You wish,” by one crew member.
“If BA had told me that the nanny could not sit with us in business then we would not have traveled 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 claims the cabin crew “gaslighted” him by refusing to explain why the nanny couldn’t sit in the vacant seat and ignoring his repeated requests for an upgrade by claiming he would be compensated instead.
“I indicated to the cabin crew that I had made a complaint about their behavior to BA. Rather than apologies, 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.”
The Airbus A320, on the other hand, had already left the gate and was taxiing to the runway when the pilot turned the plane around and called for police to meet it.
In response to this incident, British Airways has publicly stated that it doesn’t “tolerate disruptive behavior 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.
Despite the fact that police met the plane, no crime was recorded. Following the upgrade snafu, British Airways flight BA2578 arrived in Turin 90 minutes late.