Qatari 'royalty' thrown off British Airways flight

Thomas Lifson
According this UK Daily Mail report, a Qatari sheikh caused quite a row at Milan's Linate Airport (used only for short-range flights within Europe) when checking in for British Airways flight to London. The reason: other passengers refused to move so that none of the female members of his entourage traveling in business class would have to bear the outrageous indignity of sitting next to male who is not related to them.
When none of the other business class passengers agreed to swap seats, the sheikh, a member of Qatar's ruling family, went to the pilot, who had already started the engine, to complain, an airport official said.

A mediation attempt was made but as the sheikh and his travelling companions - the three women, two men, a cook and a servant - refused to sit down, the pilot ordered them off the plane for safety reasons.

The London-bound flight took off nearly three hours behind schedule on Thursday evening and around 50 of the 115 passengers missed connecting flights.

If I made such a row and delayed a flight for three hours, I have little doubt that I would be gaining familiarity with a cell in one of Milan's jails right now. But then again, I cannot claim to be a sheikh. Sometimes it seems that an awful lot of Arabs can, especially in the smaller emirates. If this were really a senrio member of the Qatari royal family, almost undoubtedly he would have use of one the royal transport aircraft.

Given the fact that BA, like most major carriers, is happy to reserve specific seats in advance for all passengers, most especially premium fare passengers, the responsibility for the situation clearly lies with the Qataris. If they didn't like the seating, and were unable to persuade other passengers to move via asking politely or offering a gratuity, then they should have deplaned and waited for a flight on which the desired seating arrangements were possible. Maybe I am prejudiced, but this seems like outrageous, disrespectful behavior.

If my connection had been missed because of this behavior, I would submit a bill for extra expenses and time lost to the Qatari embassy in Rome, and possibly bring legal action if nothing were forthcoming. Call me cranky, but I do not put up with such behavior readily.

Hat tip: Airliners.net

According this UK Daily Mail report, a Qatari sheikh caused quite a row at Milan's Linate Airport (used only for short-range flights within Europe) when checking in for British Airways flight to London. The reason: other passengers refused to move so that none of the female members of his entourage traveling in business class would have to bear the outrageous indignity of sitting next to male who is not related to them.
When none of the other business class passengers agreed to swap seats, the sheikh, a member of Qatar's ruling family, went to the pilot, who had already started the engine, to complain, an airport official said.

A mediation attempt was made but as the sheikh and his travelling companions - the three women, two men, a cook and a servant - refused to sit down, the pilot ordered them off the plane for safety reasons.

The London-bound flight took off nearly three hours behind schedule on Thursday evening and around 50 of the 115 passengers missed connecting flights.

If I made such a row and delayed a flight for three hours, I have little doubt that I would be gaining familiarity with a cell in one of Milan's jails right now. But then again, I cannot claim to be a sheikh. Sometimes it seems that an awful lot of Arabs can, especially in the smaller emirates. If this were really a senrio member of the Qatari royal family, almost undoubtedly he would have use of one the royal transport aircraft.

Given the fact that BA, like most major carriers, is happy to reserve specific seats in advance for all passengers, most especially premium fare passengers, the responsibility for the situation clearly lies with the Qataris. If they didn't like the seating, and were unable to persuade other passengers to move via asking politely or offering a gratuity, then they should have deplaned and waited for a flight on which the desired seating arrangements were possible. Maybe I am prejudiced, but this seems like outrageous, disrespectful behavior.

If my connection had been missed because of this behavior, I would submit a bill for extra expenses and time lost to the Qatari embassy in Rome, and possibly bring legal action if nothing were forthcoming. Call me cranky, but I do not put up with such behavior readily.

Hat tip: Airliners.net