Last week I wrote about how a family was removed off a Qantas flight from Bali, and there was even video footage of the incident. Well, the traveler who was involved in this incident has now shared his version of events, after having been banned from future Qantas and Jetstar flights.
In this post:
Family removed from Qantas flight in Bali
A family of five (with three young kids under three years old) returning from holiday was removed from a Qantas flight for abusing the crew. Specifically, this happened on Thursday, October 20, 2022, on Qantas flight QF44 from Bali (DPS) to Sydney (SYD). This redeye flight was operated by a Boeing 737-800.
Based on the video footage, you’ll see that this heated situation seemed to be due to a combination of a stroller disagreement, as well as the crew allegedly being rude toward the mother and wife.
After the father and husband directs some amount of abuse toward the crew, the decision was made to remove the family from the flight. This is where the video footage starts, as roughly three minutes of the discussion between the passenger and a flight attendant are captured. Among other things, you can hear the husband and father tell the flight attendant:
- “Get the hell out of my face”
- “You’re being so rude, and you’re so annoying”
- “Unless you carry my kids out, force them out, we’re not leaving”
- “You’re making my wife cry”
- “Tell security to take you out as well”
- “I’m telling you right now they were being rude and it’s f***ing disgusting”
Despite their objections, the family did in fact end up getting removed from the plane. Qantas released the following statement regarding the incident:
“These passengers were removed from the aircraft after abusing our crew a number of times prior to the flight departing Bali. The safety of our customers and crew is our number one priority and we do not tolerate any kind of abusive behaviour. We ask customers to follow the direction of crew for the safety and comfort of everyone on board.”
The Qantas traveler’s version of events
The man seen arguing in the video is 27-year-old Zakir Slaimankhel, who is a professional rugby league player who lives in New Zealand and is initially from Afghanistan (he had represented Afghanistan at an international rugby tournament in Indonesia on August). He took to Facebook to share his version of events.
To summarize, here are his key points:
- As the family boarded, the pram was left outside the aircraft, and staff advised it would be brought on; it was never brought on, so before departure he went to the front of the aircraft, and felt the flight attendant wasn’t being polite with how they told him to “go find a spot” for it, without offering assistance
- Due to a delayed departure, the mother and wife went to the bathroom to change the diaper of their five month old; while waiting for the toilet, a flight attendant told her to “move down the aircraft in an unrelenting manner as we were apparently inhibiting the toilet doors from opening safely,” and “the stern instructions from this staff member were unjustified and made her feel belittled”
- As she went into the toilet, the same flight attendant advised her in a condescending tone to “watch out, the floor’s disgusting”
- As she came out of the toilet, the same flight attendant said “watch out, someone is coming out of the other toilet and you hit her”
- Prior to leaving the toilet, she bent down to collect something on the floor, and at this point another flight attendant was “staring at her in a patronizing manner which made her feel disgusted”
- She asked the flight attendant “why are you looking at me like that?” and the response was “I’m not looking at you, I’m looking past you”
- The flight attendant then allegedly said “it’s people like you with that head thingy,” in “a stereotypical and racist manner”
That’s kind of where the video picks up, and here’s how Slaimankhel describes his feelings at this point:
“The behaviour of the staff members made her feel extremely humiliated and distraught. She began crying and told them that they were very rude and condescending towards her. In response, they were unsympathetically dismissive of her feelings and concerns . Their treatment inflicted immense anxiety within her, she felt isolated, overwhelmed, and discriminated against. It made her question her self and feel powerless being a visible Muslim who wears a hijab. I did not witness any other passenger be treated in a remotely similar manner to my family.”
For what it’s worth, Qantas issued the following statement regarding this:
“Qantas takes allegations of this nature raised very seriously, and we will not tolerate any unlawful discrimination on racial, ethnic or any other grounds. Our staff also deny making any inappropriate comments regarding the passengers’ attire. This has been supported by other passengers who witnessed the interactions.”
A few thoughts:
- If the crew did make a comment about the traveler wearing a hijab, that’s of course totally inappropriate and disgusting; however, it’s not corroborated by others, and it’s kind of shocking that a crew member would be that insensitive and dumb?
- Other than that comment, the rest of the interactions just sound like a crew that might have a mildly bad attitude, but that’s hardly unusual; I mean, claiming a flight attendant said “watch out, the floor’s disgusting” hardly seems like a point worth bringing up in a complaint?
PSA: arguing with crews never ends well
I get that people can find themselves in tense situations on airplanes, and at times airline employees may even be on power trips or have an attitude.
That being said, it always amazes me how often we see situation where the crew tells someone they’re going to be removed from the plane, and they refuse. As you can see here, the man claimed the family wouldn’t get off the plane unless they were forced, and he encouraged the police to be called.
I’m not sure what exactly he was thinking, but I don’t recall the last time that ended well for the passenger. These people also don’t seem to get that when the police is called, they’re simply there to enforce the request of the airline — they’re not acting as Judge Judy, and hearing both sides.
Did the guy think that this situation would play out like this?
“The captain wants you off the plane, pack your stuff.”
“Nope, I’m not leaving. You’re so annoying, get out of my face”
“Oh, okay. In that case you’re welcome to stay. Would you like a warm towel and perhaps a cocktail?”
If you feel you’re wronged in situations like this, your best bet is to still follow instructions, and hopefully document as much of what happened as you can, and ideally have witnesses. But simply arguing with and insulting the crew won’t get you anywhere. Ever.
A family was recently kicked off a Qantas flight from Bali. A passenger claims that the crew was incredibly rude, especially toward the mother and wife. Next thing you know, the father and husband started yelling at and insulting the crew. When the family was asked to get off the plane, they refused. The family ended up being banned from Qantas and Jetstar.
What do you make of this Qantas situation?