Ryanair reports ‘racist tirade’ incident to UK police

Airline says incident, in which man berates woman with disability, reported to Essex police

Ryanair has been criticised for apparently failing to remove a passenger from a plane after he launched a racist tirade against the woman in the seat next to him. Photograph: Christian Hartmann/Reuters.

Ryanair has been criticised for apparently failing to remove a passenger from a plane after he launched a racist tirade against the woman in the seat next to him. Photograph: Christian Hartmann/Reuters.

 

Ryanair has reported to UK police an incident on a plane in which a passenger was filmed shouting racial abuse to a woman in the seat next to him.

The airline had been criticised for apparently failing to remove the man from the plane, who was filmed by a fellow passenger calling the elderly woman an “ugly black bastard”, and shouting “don’t talk to me in a foreign language you stupid ugly cow”.

In a statement, released on Monday Ryanair said:

“We have reported this to the police in Essex and as this is now a police matter, we cannot comment further.”

The footage was recorded on Friday on Ryanair flight FR015 from Barcelona to London Stansted by UK resident David Lawrence who uploaded it on to social media. It shows the man shouting at the woman to move seats while her daughter tries to stand up to him, telling him her mother is disabled.

He replies: “I don’t care whether she’s f****** disabled or not — if I tell her to get out she gets out.”

The man then calls her “an ugly f****** c***” and tells staff to move the woman to another seat, adding: “if you don’t go to another seat I’ll push you to another seat”.

Staff on the flight seemed to do little to silence the man during the footage, leaving a passenger in the row behind to try and deal with the situation.

‘Rude’

The cabin crew can be heard to say: “Don’t be so rude, you have to calm down” while other passengers call for the man to be thrown off the flight.

The victim can be heard telling the man he stinks and needs a wash, before asking to be moved so she can sit next to her daughter.

The row apparently broke out after the elderly woman was unable to move out of her aisle seat quickly enough to let the man sit down in his window seat.

The incident was retweeted thousands of times after Twitter user @StanceGrounded uploaded Mr Laurence’s clip, prompting widespread condemnation of Ryanair for failing to act swiftly.

A number of politicians voiced their concern at Ryanair’s apparent lack of action.

Labour MP for East Hull and shadow attorney general Karl Turner tweeted: “He should have been removed from the flight and handed over to the police.

“We assume the aircraft was in the UK. If it was he definitely committed criminal offences. I fully expect Ryanair to confirm the situation if in fact it was their flight.”

‘Appalling’

MSP for Greenock and Inverclyde Stuart McMillan posted: “This is really appalling Ryanair . You will know the identity of the man and the level of training given to your staff.”

Fellow MSP politician Margaret Ferrier said: “Just watched the shocking footage on a Ryanair aircraft, utterly disgusting. Racist male passenger should have been put off flight before it departed.

“Flight attendant incapable of responding appropriately. However well done to passenger with black t-shirt that intervened #hero.”

Ryanair on Sunday that it had seen the footage and reported the incident to Essex police.

It added: “As this is now a police matter, we cannot comment further.” - PA