In recent months, the media has been full of stories about disruptive passengers causing scenes on airliners, and the steps necessary to resolve them. And, thanks to the prevalence of cell phones, each and every one of these events has found fame on the internet. And these videos have proven to be valuable in trying to ascertain who was at fault and how the event was handled.
Now, we hear of yet another account in which a passenger was removed from a flight for allegedly ‘disruptive’ behavior, but this one is different. And when you read the story, you’ll see why.
71-year-old Ellen Flemming, her husband, and her two grandsons were flying to New Brunswick from British Columbia on August 18th. She had no idea her day would end the way it did. In what she calls a ‘life-changing event’ the grandmother was tossed off the plane for an altercation with one of the flight attendants over trash in her seat pocket. But it’s not what you think. Just read on…
She would not only be removed from her flight but would also be threatened with a lifetime ban by Air Canada. What’s worse - her husband and her grandchildren were forced to go home without her!
Fox News reports, “Ellen Flemming was flying home with her husband and two grandsons from British Columbia to New Brunswick on Aug. 18 when she discovered a piece of trash left behind in her seat back pocket.
“I went to put my water bottle into the pouch in front of me, and I put my hand in and pulled the pouch out, and my hand, my fingers went into this wet garbage,” Flemming said.
But when she called one of the flight attendants over to clean it up, she claims he refused, claiming he’s a flight attendant, not a garbage man. Not sure what to do, she sat there. Then, a bit later, when the food trolley came by, she decided to dispose of it herself in the trash bag that was sure to be attached.
But Fleming was NOT prepared for the flight attendant’s reaction to her second attempt to rid her space of the disgusting garbage. “He swiped my hand away, and the garbage, and so my hand came back and hit something on the way, and the garbage flew all over,” she said.
She then pushed the trash into the aisle after the man said he would not pick it up.
No cell phones captured the incident, but an eyewitness backs Flemming’s story. “The woman who was sitting behind her and across the aisle says she watched the incident unfold. Helen Hollett describes the flight attendant as ‘irate’ and ‘screaming.’
“She just asked him to take the garbage and she was very nice about it and then he just, he got really mad,” Hollett said.
Soon after the incident, the pilot made an announcement that the plane was returning to Toronto, where Fleming was escorted off the plane by armed officers. After listening to the shaken woman's story, they released her, directing her back to the Air Canada service desk to get on another flight home. That's when, according to Flemming, they refused her service. “You’re not ever flying Air Canada again.”
"Flemming eventually made it home on another airline, but later received a letter from Air Canada corporate security stating that she had 'exhibited aggressive behavior towards a crewmember; threw garbage on the food trolley; kicked a crewmember when requested to wait until the member could come back and pick up the garbage as he was serving food,' an account Flemming claims is false.
In the meantime, Mrs. Flemming is talking with an air passenger rights advocacy group and is exploring legal action against the airlines.
“There needs to be some accountability. Accountability for that flight attendant’s behavior, for his actions, accountability for being the cause of a flight getting turned around,” Flemming said.
To hear Mrs. Flemming’s story in her own words, watch the video, below.