Thursday, April 17, 2008

PLEASE BOYCOTT British Airways

Welcome to the blog. Today i would not be talking about football. Infact wouldn't be talking about anything. Recieved this email in my box and was so furious i had to post it on the blog in solidarity. If you are a Nigerian, even if you aren't you'll understand what i mean. This young man got embarrased for doing nothing except that he's Nigerian. Read on........................ Emmanuel

On the 27th of March 2008 at about 12:30pm, I boarded the British Airways
flight BA75 and I went straight to seat 53C.

On getting to my seat, there were noises from an individual being forcibly
restrained but who was not visible because some police officers and some
plain clothes people held him down. The noise continued for more than 20
minutes and I was concerned because the individual was screaming in agony
and shouting in pidgin English "I go die" meaning, I will die. I pleaded
with the officers not to kill him and my exact words were "please don't
kill him". The British Airways staff said that the officers were doing
their jobs and that nothing was going to happen. The noise became louder
and other passengers started getting concerned and were complaining
especially about their safety. The situation continued for another 15
minutes after I got on.

Eventually, a member of the cabin crew announced that the passenger was
going to be removed and the passenger was removed from the plane and we all
thought that was the end of the situation. Five minutes later, two members
of the cabin crew arrived with about 4 police officers and told me to get
off the plane. I asked what the matter was and they said that I was not
going to travel with the airline because the cabin crew thought I had been
disruptive by questioning the noise being caused by the person that was
removed. I pleaded with them that I was going for my brother's wedding and
that I had all his stuff with me. I was dragged out of the plane as if I
was resisting arrest. As we got to the corridor that linked the plane with
the terminal building, I was slammed against the wall and made to sit on
the floor. I was still pleading with them telling them that they had
completely misunderstood me and that I was only complaining about the
situation regarding the disturbances caused by the deportee they were
trying to restrain and subdue. I was on the floor for about 20 to 25
minutes. Another passenger was brought to the corridor as well and he was
also pleading with the officers.

I was later put in the back of the police van at about 1:50pm and I was
locked up there for about an hour or more still handcuffed. I was formally
arrested approximately 2:30pm and my rights were read to me. Before the
arrest in the van, I managed to reach for my pocket and brought out my
mobile phone. I made some phone calls to my wife, sister and a friend while
the low battery sign was on because I was all alone and still handcuffed.

I was later driven to the police station where I was formally checked in. I
was in police custody for almost 8 hours and later released on bail after
the interview with the duty solicitor and the detectives. I had £473.00 on
me which was seized as well as £90.00 sent to my mother in-law from my
sister in-law and £1,050.00 given to me by my cousin who is a doctor for
the upkeep of his parents in Nigeria. All the money together was £1,613.00.
I was told that I would appear in a magistrate court to prove the money was
not meant for crime or proceeds of crime. The officer told me that they
will like to see traceability and that I needed my payslips and bank
account detailing my payments and withdrawals as well as my cousin's
payments and withdrawals.

I was released but without the money. I made my way to terminal 4 and
arrived there at about 12:30am but the British Airways kiosks were closed.
I was directed to the staff room and told them that I wanted to rebook my
trip to Lagos. A lady told me to give her my ticket and she stated that
British Airways has banned me from travelling with them indefinitely and
that only the managers can use their discretions because I was a
'disruptive passenger'. I requested for my 2 piece luggage and she told me
that the section will be opened later at about 5:30am and I will be
escorted in to collect them. I slept on the chair and waited till about
5:30am and attempted to rebook my ticket but was told that British Airways
refused to take me. I decided to go and pick up my stuff and I was told
that my luggage were missing. I was handed a form with reference number
LONBA90924. At this point, I became totally stranded because I could not
leave without my luggage because it contained my brother's wedding suit,
shirts and accessories.

I was on the phone with my wife and she wanted to book an alternative
flight that departs at 10:15am so that I could make it for the wedding.
This was not possible because British Airways refused to disclose where my
luggages were and did not remove my luggage from the flight when they
called the police to arrest me.

On Monday 31st of March, I appeared at the Magistrate court but was told
that a decision was made about the £1,613.00 that was seized from me. The
police had been granted a further 90 days to hold on to the money pending
their investigation. I was given the officer's details . He requested 12
months bank statements and 6 months payslip to prove that the £473.00 that
belongs to me was not proceeds of crime and also requested that the
£1,050.00 that was given to me by my cousin for his parents should also be
traced to my cousin's 12 months bank statement and 6 months payslip. DC
Webster has promised to write me detailing these requests.

Still on Monday 31st of March 4 days after I was taken off the plane, I
made extra efforts to find out the whereabouts of my 2 piece luggage
(LONBA90924), because they have not been sent to my address as promised by
calling the lost baggage section at 13:44hrs and spoke to a man called Neil
who said that, it is difficult for them to trace my bags and that there is
a strong possibility that they might be in Lagos. He suggested that I
should call back in 24 hours.

Eventually, one week and one day later, my bags were brought to me at home.
One was badly damaged and the other was intact. British Airways delibrately
made sure I missed the wedding because if they were kicking me off their
flight, they would have removed my bags from the flight. They were all
there when the police officers made me to sit on the floor and heard me
pleading to allow me fly for my brother's wedding. I could have made either
KLM or Virgin Nigeria the following Friday morning.

I will not want to believe that the authorities involved in the situation
deliberately or cleverly punished me unnecessarily out of frustration for
not being able to restrain or subdue a deportee or that I as a fee paying
passenger was accused of affray with violence when I was voicing my
concerns about the disturbances caused by the deportees. I never mentioned
any abusive or swear words neither was I physically threatening anyone. My
luggage mysteriously was lost and I have been banned on all British Airways
flights without a chance to say my part of the story to redeem myself. 135
passengers were asked to leave the flight because they expressed
displeasure regarding the disturbances caused by the deportees and the
officers trying to restrain him. My ticket was even refused to be endorsed
by BA to enable me to fly with another airline. I need full compensation of
my loss and also a letter of apology from British Airways.

Please copy and past this on your own blog.

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