87 Year Old Woman Compensated £40 After Sitting in Wet Clothes for 10 Hour Flight

An 87 year old woman flew London to Los Angeles on January 7 and apparently was told no when she asked to use to loo. The plane was “delayed on the runway for 90 minutes” and passengers weren’t allowed to get up.

She got a pain in her kidneys from holding her bladder for so long. She isn’t incontinent, there’s nothing wrong with her, but she is an elderly woman and when you have to go, you have to go.

…’My mother was so furious at being told she couldn’t go to the toilet that she asked for the air stewardess’ name.

‘She said it was Mandy. She said, ‘I’m going to go to the toilet whether you like it or not’. She stood up to go to the bathroom and the stewardess blocked her path in the aisle. She said, ‘You’re not going to the toilet’ and stood in front of her.

Unfortunately she couldn’t wait, she went at her seat, and had no clothes to change into for the ten and a half hour flight to London.

BA offered the woman £40 although it seems that may be compensation for an inoperative inflight entertainment system rather than for dry cleaning or other costs associated with being unable to use the lavatory.

The woman’s daughter rejected the £40, saying what she wants is an apology but British Airways says they’ve apologized. British Airways offers comment,

British Airways has acknowledged the incident

A spokesman for British Airways said: ‘We are very sorry that our customer had such a distressing experience and have been in contact to apologise. ​​

‘Our highly trained cabin crew always work to make our customers as comfortable as possible, but Civil Aviation Authority safety rules stipulate everyone must remain seated with their seatbelts on after the aircraft has started moving.

There’s something very strange about this story. It’s in the Daily Mail so they call the 10.5 hour gate-to-gate journey as 13 hour flight. (Other UK media call it a 13 hour flight as well.) Either way it’s unfortunate. However,

  • The woman would have been told to sit if the aircraft were on an active taxiway.

  • But they wouldn’t have been for the bulk of a 90 minute ground delay.

  • So perhaps the woman was told to sit while the plane was moving, or preparing to move, she didn’t understand why she was scolded and didn’t get back up during the remainder of the delay?

London Heathrow Terminal 5

Perhaps the few minutes where the plane was indeed taxiing were the crucial minutes, though in which case it isn’t fair or accurate to say British Airways wouldn’t let the woman go for the entirety of the 90 minute delay.

(HT: Ken A.)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. The entire logical progression presented at the end depends on it *not* being a FA on a power trip … which it almost certainly was.

  2. if factual, completely unnecessary…..

    surprised after a 90 min no toilet rule, there weren’t more damp seats….

  3. Was stuck on an hour and a half ground delay on BA at DHL (Delhi) and simply got up and used the loo. I figured if a flight attendant stopped me, I’d pull the probably honest “It’s an emergency” line and simply walk past them. If it truly was becoming a situation where I might wet myself, I would totally ignore any get-back-to-your-seat demand by the FA and use the loo. Honestly, I’d rather be de-planed and miss my flight then suffer the humiliation of taking my privates out in the cabin and using a sick bag or wetting myself in the seat like this poor lady did. The reality was the FAs didn’t bother with stopping me or several others who did the same thing during that 1 1/2 hours. It was one of those “quietly permitted” situations even if a “no toilet” rule was in effect.

    There needs to be common sense exceptions to some rules.

  4. At some point some one has to say. I’m not going to piss on my self. Let me go. Or the damn plane is going no where. Let’s go back to the gate. This is an emergency. Period.

  5. BA is leading the pack for the race to the bottom. Not only have they cutback on amenities, they have also cutback on courtesy and morale. No longer a pleasure to fly with, BA!

  6. It is really sickening to hear the lack of common sense among some of the FAs out there.
    I hate BA even more now and I’m happy to say I haven’t flown with them for the past 2 years and will continue the trend.

  7. Another airline to avoid….I wouldn’t use miles on them as BA charges exorbitant fuel surcharges. Paying money to fly them…NO WAY!

  8. That poor woman, 40 pounds is definitely not enough for the embarrassment caused to an 87 year old woman. I don’t even think a sorry after the fact is good enough.

  9. This is shameful from BA, disgusting to treat anyone this way. I agree, BA is on a fast track to the bottom of the pile, very sorry to the lady, not at all cool from that power trip FA (imho).

  10. The FA could have come back to tell the lady when it was ok to go! Terrible way to act to an elderly lady.

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