There have been a number of reports by passengers who have been unduly “harassed” by airline staff. For these people, what was supposed to be a fun flight home becomes a nightmarish experience. When these passengers expose the airlines for the less than cordial treatment of its passengers, the apologies given don’t even sound true, or sincere.
21-year-old Emily O’Connor was unfortunate enough to become the target of airline staff looking to exert their power. She had booked a Thomas Cook Airlines flight from Birmingham, England, and was heading to Tenerife, Spain. She made it to her seat, and was looking forward to a pleasant flight.
However, airline staff approached her and told her that she needed to cover up. Apparently, her outfit was inappropriate and was causing offence. O’Connor was shocked. All she had on was a crop top and high waist pants.
O’Connor was particularly confused with how the incident was unfolding, and could not understand why her outfit was deemed inappropriate. She hadn’t seen any guidelines on the Thomas Cook Airline website. The airline staff informed her that she was going to be removed from the plane if she did not cover up.
Four staff members were waiting nearby to remove her and her luggage if she failed to comply with their request. Fortunately for O’Connor, her cousin was on the same plane, and came to her rescue. She handed O’Connor a jacket, and, under the watchful eye of the airline staff, put it on. They stated that they had to watch her wear it before they could clear the flight for takeoff.
O’Connor posted a picture of her outfit on Twitter, and captioned the entire incident. She stated that the experience made her feel “ridiculed” and “sexualized.” She added, ““They made comments over the speaker about the situation and left me shaking and upset on my own.” She described it as “the worst experience of my life.”
O’Connor’s post quickly went viral, and many people were quick to criticize the airline. A Thomas Cook Airlines spokesperson stated, “Thomas Cook Airlines has since apologized for how their staff handled the incident. We are sorry that we upset Ms. O’Connor. It’s clear we could have handled the situation better.”
The company stated that their “appropriate attire” policy is outlined in their in-flight magazine. The policy reads; “Customers wearing inappropriate attire (including items with offensive slogans or images) will not be permitted to travel unless a change of clothes is possible. Footwear must be worn on the aircraft.”
“In common with most airlines, we have an appropriate-attire policy. This applies equally to men and women of all ages without discrimination. Our crews have the difficult task of implementing that policy and don’t always get it right,” the spokesperson added.