Airline probes man's 'arrest' over complaint
Published 14/08/2011 | 05:00
Aer Arann is investigating an incident on a flight from Bristol, England, that it operates on behalf of Aer Lingus, after a passenger was apparently arrested for complaining about the change he had been given by an Aer Arann cabin attendant.
The man was taken into custody by Airport Police in front of the other passengers and was questioned by gardai, who quickly established that no crime had taken place and the man was released without charge.
The passenger, who wishes to remain anonymous, told the Sunday Independent that he was perplexed by the incident and wants an apology from the airline.
"I've flown around the world twice and have had good and bad experiences on airlines but this incident was beyond belief. I complained about the change that I had received and the flight attendant had been rude to me on a number of occasions, but that was it. I never raised my voice, never made any threatening gestures and yet I was treated as if I was a terrorist."
According to the passenger, who had been driving all day and could not have been drinking, the flight attendant had been rude to him but he had ignored it for as long as possible. He eventually told the attendant he would be taking her name to make a complaint.
"I was very annoyed at how I'd been treated throughout the flight, but once I was at home and had my bags, I realised that I probably wouldn't have bothered to make the complaint. There was an announcement over the intercom that there would be a slight delay in disembarking."
Shortly after, the plane was surrounded by what he believes were as many as five airport vehicles and at the bottom of the steps he was met by Airport Police "including a number of dog handlers".
The passenger was told by Airport Police that a complaint had been made that the flight attendant believed her life and the safety of the plane were under threat.
He was later questioned by an officer at the garda station at Dublin Airport. Gardai confirmed they investigated the flight attendant's claim but found "no crime was committed. No arrests were made".
After sending a written complaint to both Aer Lingus and Aer Arann, the passenger received a reply from Aer Lingus saying the airline was "disappointed" to hear about his experience and assured him Aer Arann would conduct a full hearing.
According to the passenger, Aer Arann didn't contact him at any time to ascertain his version of events, but sent him a letter three weeks later saying the internal investigation was concluded but no further action was necessary.
Adding insult to injury, the letter said that "Aer Arann would like to have the opportunity to welcome you on board our flights again, subject to your assurance that your future conduct will be appropriate and acceptable".
Aer Arann declined to answer questions on the incident. A spokesperson said on Friday evening that the airline "met with the passenger in question on Friday afternoon and have agreed to look into the incident further and revert to him within a week. No further comment will be made".