The family of an elderly black woman who was racially abused on a Ryanair flight have told HuffPost UK they are “surprised, disgusted and hurt” that they have still had no contact from the airline, despite the Transport Secretary suggesting what occurred on board was a crime.
Windrush generation migrant Mrs Gayle, 77, was returning from a holiday to mark the anniversary of her husband’s death with her daughter, when the incident occurred just before their flight took off.
In a shocking video captured by fellow passenger David Lawrence, a man can be heard referring to the pensioner as an “ugly black bastard”. He appears to be refusing to sit next to her and threatening to “push” her if she does not sit elsewhere.
Following a brief and heated argument between the man, Mrs Gayle and her daughter, the elderly woman is moved elsewhere on the aircraft while the man remains in the same seat. Cabin crew seen in the video appear to take no action against the man.
The incident has prompted widespread criticism and outrage, with many people questioning why the man was not removed from aircraft and reported to the police.
The Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling, told BBC Radio 4′s Today programme on Monday: “What we saw was totally unacceptable. The fact is that race abuse of that kind is a crime. And if a crime is committed it should be dealt with appropriately.
“So therefore I would hope that notwithstanding what took place on that day, that the police would want to take action in such an extraordinarily unacceptable case.”
Under article 7 of Ryanair’s terms and conditions, the airline may refuse carriage if a passenger’s “mental or physical state or attitude, behaviour or demeanour presents a hazard or risk to yourself, to passengers, to crew, or to property.”
Ryanair tweeted on Sunday morning: “We are aware of this video and have reported this matter to Essex Police.”
A spokesperson today told HuffPost UK: “As this is now a police matter, we cannot comment further.”