Date:10/02/03 23:18:34 GMT Standard Time
Sent from the Internet
(Sent to Virgin Atlantic Airways)
Dear Customer Service:
My husband and I have flown your airline on two previous occasions, both of which were the most enjoyable flights we have
taken. I have recommmended your airline to many friends.
That is until 2/5/03 when we had the worst flying experience ever. My husband and I were verbally harrassed for nearly 10 hours
and I was phycically struck by a drunken passenger. We believe this was directly due to gross negligence of your employees on
Flight 24 from LAX to Heathrow which departed at 9:05 pm on 2/5/03.
Upon getting to our seats 48 H & K, a male passenger sat in front of us. He was in seat 47H. Even though they had asked
everyone to cease using cell phones he continued to talk on his. An attendant came by and asked him to stop. He pretended
to, then just kept talking even though the plane was leaving the gate. Being concerned for the safety of ourselves and the plane,
we asked him kindly to stop. He told us to "fuck off nosy Americans" (he was from the UK). We then became aware he was
quite drunk. We off course were totally upset that we would be next to this person for the next 10 hours.
Once we were airborne, and even though the seatbelt sign was not turned off, he got up and moved to an emply row of seats. An
attendant told him he should not do that - he said "don't worry about it babe" and did it anyway. She giggled and walked away!
Unfortunately soon after reaching cruising altitude the cabin crew brought around the drink cart. He asked for a glass of straight
Vodka. The girl gave him one and he told her it was not enough and to fill it to the top. She did so!!!. Then he asked for a beer
and she gave him one too!!! During the next couple of hours we personally witnessed the cabin crew give him 2 more beers and
a total of 5 glasses of straight vodka. At this point he was becoming loud and generally disruptive to all the passengers around
us. My wife got up to inform an attendant. All she said was that she was aware of the problem and would "handle" it. To say that
your staff did not handle it well, would be the understatement of the year.
Since the plane was half empty I went back several rows to go to sleep. After about two hours the drunken passenger, woke me
by hitting me on the arm and demanded the I "get out of his seat". I told him he may be confused because it was not his seat.
He screamed at me again to get out of the row of seats because it was his!. At this point I became quite afraid, got up and went
to tell an attendant of the whole incident. They said they would againg "handle it". We asked to keep this passenger away from
us at this point as I was very upset at this behavior towards us. The man was a menace and a danger to all the passengers. He
was so drunk because your staff allowed him to become that way. However, this was not the worst of it.
I then went up front to the empty row he had been using since he was now passed out in the other row. I asked one of the cabin
crew to remove all the garbage he had left as well as some of his cloths, shoes and a computer he had just left sitting on the
seat. She did so. I asked her to please keep him under control. She said they were aware of him being a problem and would
handle it!!! Again, a couple of hours later he came back and asked "what the fuck was I doing in his seat"?. At this point we
became quite angry and rang the call button for an attendant because we were afraid he would become violent. He was yelling
that I stole his laptop, etc. I tried to tell him the crew took it but being so drunk he couldn't understand anything.
I demanded to know why we were continually subjected to this menace of a person. Even though they were aware he was a
problem they just kept letting him wander around the plane in a drunken stupor. I asked to see the person in charge as we were
totally fed up at this point. The head attendant Victoria Lewis, came up. My husband and I explained to her what had transpired
in the past couple of hours and asked that for our safety and the safety of others, the man be restrained somewhere away from
us. To our utter astonishment she said she could not do so unless it was "an extreme case". I was so upset I began to cry. The
man had hit me, harrassed us, tried to pick a fight with my husband, disrupted several other passengers but IT WAS NOT
EXTREME ENOUGH!. I asked her why she would not do anything and why they had allowed a passenger to consume so much
liquer. She said they did not have the power to make people stop drinking and that there was nothing she could do. During all of
this he kept saying we had stolen all his stuff. Finally the other attendant assured him that she had his things. Still he kept
calling us "stupid over dramatic typical fucking Americans" right in front of this Ms. Lewis. All she told him was to keep his voice
down! By now we were in a total state of shock at how your crew handled this situation.
Given the events of the last 18 months, we could not believe your crew behaved so callously toward us. I asked her to get him
away because I was afraid and my husband was becoming more upset by the minute. She again said she could not, and that
passengers had the right to sit where they wanted! I then asked to speak to whatever security person or whom ever was willing
to help us. To my amazement she blurted out "British airlines do not have security personnel on their planes". I did not beleive
this but could not believe she would say such a thing out loud. So much for improved security. The drunken passenger then
went and laid down again in the back of the plane but kept saying we stole his cell phone because he could not find it. I told Ms.
Lewis that I was going to file a complaint and she said "do whatever you want to do".
The entire flight was a nightmare for us. Terrorism comes in many forms and we DO NOT ACCEPT that this was not an
"extreme" enough incident for something more to have been done to protect us and the other passengers, who at this point also
were complaining and wanted him to be kept away. Ms. Lewis simply walked away.
We are some of the few people who have not let terrorism keep us from flying. I think that fact should be appreciated by your
airline and crew. Instead we were humiliated, abused and frightened on our way to a vacation.
Due to these grossly inadequate actions by your crew, I demand a full refund for the first leg of our flight for both me and my
husband. If your airline does not take action to compensate us for this incident we will seek full legal action and report the
incident to the FAA and any other oversight agency available.
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