Monday, March 28, 2011

Gordon Brown Shocking Inflight Drama

Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown sparked a mutiny on a British Airways flight after he was blamed for an attempt to downgrade a heavily pregnant woman and Red Cross doctor into more cramped seats.

The extraordinary scenes - dubbed Mutiny On The Brown-ty - unfolded on a flight from Abu Dhabi to London, when passengers lost their seats before his six-strong entourage got on board.

It prompted an angry war of words with an 'aggressive' Brown aide, and led to a formal complaint to BA and an offer of compensation described as 'derisory' by those involved.

The dispute flared when passengers were told they would have to move to a lower class of seats because of a sudden 'overbooking' problem.

When they checked in at Oman, where the flight originated, some of those in business class were told they would have to switch to premium economy, some in premium economy moved to regular economy - and an unlucky few in economy were kicked off the plane altogether.

The seven-months-pregnant woman, who had bought a £700 (RM3,398) premium ticket to secure extra legroom, refused to budge, but her husband was persuaded to shift to economy.

The doctor reluctantly agreed to be moved from business.

During the first, hour-long leg from Oman to Abu Dhabi, the displaced passengers stared resentfully at the six empty seats in business class, known as Club World by BA.

At Abu Dhabi they were livid to see Mr Brown board the plane with his team and take up the £3,000(RM14,500)-a-head places.

The passengers immediately concluded that they had been 'bumped' to make way for Mr Brown, a suggestion the airline strongly denies.

Infuriated, the pregnant woman approached Brown and his aide, Kirsty McNeill, and took a picture of the pair on her mobile, prompting a furious response.

"McNeill was seriously aggressive," said the woman, a high-­powered City financier who does not want to be identified.

"She 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."

We have pretty much put an end to privilege. The good things in life are obtained through hard work and effort, not through rank and status.

If you want a more comfortable seat on a plane, then usually you have to hand over a bigger fare in return.

Most people do not bother to do so. The price is high. No normal, healthy person can come to much harm from sitting in economy class for a few hours.

But those who do decide to spend the extra money would seem to have an indisputable claim on the greater leg room and comfort they have bought with hard-earned cash, or which their employers have decided they deserve.

Why should British Airways override this simple commercial arrangement for an
ex-Prime Minister, returning from a long-planned and well-paid engagement, and provide seats for him and his party at the cost of upset and inconvenience to others?

Why does an ex-Premier need an entourage anyway? He is a private citizen. If he is so keen on occupying seats, why doesn’t he take his place in the Commons rather more often.

Read more:

The Daily Mail

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