A flight attendant for Virgin Blue, Richard Branson’s Australian airline, has been fired over allegations that he placed a passenger’s infant child in the overhead bin during a flight from Fiji to Sydney.
“My husband… was standing one metre behind my son when the air steward picked him up and placed him in the overhead compartment,” the boy’s mother told reporters. “I stood up and there were people laughing and then I said ‘Get my son out of there now.’”
The mom says her son was in the closed compartment for around 10 seconds.
The airline doesn’t deny the incident occurs, but says that the boy’s father was playing peek-a-boo with the baby and that it somehow involved the overhead compartment; the attendant was just playing along.
Regardless, the attendant has been pushed down the emergency slide. “We conducted a thorough investigation of the incident and the staff member involved was subsequently terminated,” a Virgin rep says. “The safety of our guests is our top priority and we do not tolerate any breaches of this.”
In addition to firing the attendant, Virgin Blue offered the mom three free flights.
She says the baby now sees specialists because of the trauma from the incident: “He won’t leave my sight now. He sleeps with me. If I’m not in the same room as him, he will scream and yell ‘Mum, mum, mum.’”
Of course, that also sounds like any number of toddlers I’ve seen. And I don’t think any of them have been place in the overhead compartment.
Thanks to Peter for the tip!