Saturday night’s EVA Air flight BR68 from London Heathrow to Bangkok diverted to Vienna after a woman self-upgraded from economy to premium economy and ‘refused to pay for the upgrade’ while her booze-influenced partner wouldn’t stop smoking and became abusive to crew. He was tackled and taped to his seat.
- The woman wanted the upgrade for free, though her bundle of cash suggests she could have paid for it.
- Her partner smoked an e-cigarette on board. That’s forbidden. He did it beside the galley in front of cabin crew. He seems like someone that’s regularly outsmarted by cheese.
- The two passengers insulted crewmembers. According to the airline, flight attendants were subjected to “physical abuse.”
It took eight passengers to restrain them, including taping the man to his seat for three hours. The flight diverted, and they were taken off. The woman threw £5,000 (US$6,000) at the man. It blew off in the wind. He then went after the money. Some of the cash was picked up by an officer.
The Taipei-based Star Alliance carrier flies several fifth freedom routes, which I’ve had great success over the years booking as awards. On the London – Bangkok route they’re actually my airline of choice. British Airways isn’t flying to Bangkok, and the only other carrier offering the service is Thai Airways which is inconsistent at best.
Passengers were given hotel rooms for their daytime wait time in Vienna, which ultimately totaled about 11 hours. The onward segment from Bangkok to Taipei was cancelled.
Self-upgrading never works. Self-regulating alcohol consumption usually does. I get frustrated when my upgrades don’t clear, too, but vaping in the galley and abusing crew won’t help. It’s not their fault. And if you want the upgrade badly enough, at the end of the day you’ll pay for it.