Ryanair has sparked outrage after apparently failing to remove a passenger from a plane after he launched a racist tirade against the woman in the seat next to him.
The man was filmed by a fellow passenger calling the elderly woman an “ugly black bastard”, and shouting “don’t talk to me in a foreign language you stupid ugly cow”.
The footage was recorded on October 19 on Ryanair flight FR015 from Barcelona to London Stansted by Kent resident David Lawrence who uploaded it on to social media.
It shows the man shouting at the woman to move seats while her daughter tries to stand up to him, telling him her mother is disabled.
He replies: “I don’t care whether she’s f****** disabled or not - if I tell her to get out she gets out.”
The man then calls her “an ugly f****** c***” and tells staff to move the woman to another seat, adding: “if you don’t go to another seat I’ll push you to another seat”.
Staff on the flight seemed to do little to silence the man during the footage, leaving a passenger in the row behind to try and deal with the situation.
The cabin crew can be heard to say: “Don’t be so rude, you have to calm down” while other passengers call for the man to be thrown off the flight.
The victim can be heard telling the man he stinks and needs a wash, before asking to be moved so she can sit next to her daughter.
The daughter of the woman who was targeted said she believed if a black person had behaved in the same way they would have been thrown off the flight immediately.
The woman, 53, told the Huffington Post the row had started because her 77-year-old mother’s arthritis meant it took her some time to move out of the way so the man could reach the window seat.
The daughter said she had taken her mother, who is a Windrush Generation migrant who came to the UK from Jamaica in the 1960s, on holiday to mark one year since the death of her father.
“My parents were married over 50 years. She’s been feeling really down and depressed, so I thought the trip would raise her spirits.”
She continued: “I know that if I was behaving like he was or any other black person for that matter, police would have been called and we would have been kicked off the flight.”
“Mum’s really feeling upset and very stressed about this situation, on top of the grief she’s already experiencing. As for me, I’m upset about the whole thing too - the fact that the passenger wasn’t taken off the plane and how the situation was dealt with,” she said.
The woman said that when she had complained to cabin crew they denied hearing any racial slurs and they told her to ring customer services on Monday.
News of the incident was retweeted 18,000 times after a user with the handle @StanceGrounded uploaded Mr Laurence’s clip, prompting widespread condemnation of Ryanair for failing to act swiftly.
A number of politicians voiced their concern at Ryanair’s apparent lack of action.
Labour MP for East Hull and shadow Attorney General Karl Turner tweeted: “He should have been removed from the flight and handed over to the police.
“We assume the aircraft was in the UK. If it was he definitely committed criminal offences. I fully expect @Ryanair to confirm the situation if in fact it was their flight.”
MSP for Greenock and Inverclyde Stuart McMillan posted: “This is really appalling @Ryanair . You will know the identity of the man and the level of training given to your staff.”
Fellow MSP politician Margaret Ferrier said: “Just watched the shocking footage on a @Ryanair aircraft, utterly disgusting. Racist male passenger should have been put off flight before it departed.
“Flight attendant incapable of responding appropriately. However well done to passenger with black t-shirt that intervened #hero.”
The budget airline tweeted on Sunday that it had seen the footage and reported the incident to Essex police.
It added: “As this is now a police matter, we cannot comment further.”
A spokeswoman for Essex police said: “This incident, which we were made aware of this morning, is believed to have taken place on a plane at Barcelona Airport.
“Essex Police takes prejudice-based crime seriously and we want all incidents to be reported.
“We are working closely with Ryanair and the Spanish authorities on the investigation.”