Did British Airlines Downgrade a Pregnant Woman to Make Room for Gordon Brown?John Cave Osborne
A series of downgrades made to the status of paid passengers on a British Airlines flight created quite the stir over the weekend. Newspaper reports on Sunday indicated that the flight in question originated in Oman and went to Abu Dhabi before heading on to Heathrow. The dispute began when passengers were told that they would be downgraded while they were checking in at Oman due to “overbooking.” Some folks from business class were downgraded to premium economy, while some premium economy flyers were switched to regular economy, and a few from regular economy were bumped off of the flight altogether.
One of those affected was a seven-months-pregnant woman who had spent 700 pounds on a premium ticket so she could enjoy the extra legroom and travel in (relative) comfort. She refused to move and now British Airlines has offered the woman an apology.
Though the pregnant woman refused to move, her husband did agree to move down to the economy class. SkyReport reported that after all of the shuffling, six business-class seats remained empty on the flight to Abu Dhabi where former Prime Minister Gordon Brown and five of his associates claimed them.
At that point, the passengers put two and two together and deduced that they had been bumped to make room for Gordon and his party, a deduction which made the pregnant woman quite angry.
And as I would have gladly told BA authorities, it’s never a good idea to infuriate a pregnant woman. Or so everyone must have gathered when this lady marched up to Gordon and his assistant, Kirsty McNeill, and snapped a photo of the two on her mobile phone. (Classic.) This act prompted an exchange which, according to the pregnant woman (who wanted to remain anonymous) went like this:
“[McNeill] came over and said, ‘Why are you taking a photo of Gordon?’
“I said, ‘I have no interest in Gordon but I have a problem with BA as I suspect we have all been downgraded and messed around because of his and your arrival on this plane.’ “
The woman lodged an official complaint over the incident and received an apology from the airline as well as 75 pounds (around $121.00 US) to compensate for the inconvenience she and her husband endured.
Since then, a BA spokesperson said that Gordon’s presence was just a coincidence and that the downgrades had nothing to do with him.
So not only did they ask a woman who was seven-months pregnant to move to a cramped seat after she’d paid extra to specifically avoid such a situation, they then went on to publicly claim that this woman was wrong in assuming that the downgrades had anything to do with Brown.
Man, that airline is braver than I am. I can tell you that much. More callous, too!
Have you ever been inconvenienced like that since being pregnant?