Flight attendant sacked after putting toddler in overhead locker
- Filed under:
A flight attendant has been sacked by Virgin Blue - after putting a toddler into an overhead locker.
Angry mum Natalie Williamson says she was onboard a flight from Fiji to Sydney with her 17-month-old son, Riley, and her now estranged husband. The male flight attendant suddenly picked up Riley, placed him in the locker and closed the latch.
The Australian airline has admitted the incident, although it claims Ms Williamson's husband was playing a peek-a-boo game with Riley involving the overhead compartment when the flight attendant joined in.
'We conducted a thorough investigation of the incident and the staff member involved was subsequently terminated,' a Virgin spokeswoman said.
The airline has offered Ms Williamson three free flights, but the distraught mum says she is too shaken by the mid-air experience to redeem them.
'I stood up and there were people laughing and then I said "Get my son out of there now"', she told the Australian newspaper The Sunday Herald Sun.
'I was devastated. Absolutely devastated.'
Ms Williamson said Riley was locked in the compartment for up to 10 seconds in complete darkness.
'The manager on board came up to me later and said: "I need you to complain, I need you to do something. Write or ring. Do whatever you can"', she said.
According to Ms Williamson, Riley, who is now 20 months, has seen various specialists since the incident after suffering from anxiety and withdrawal.
'He won't leave my sight now. He sleeps with me. If I'm not in the same room as him, he will scream', she said.
Virgin said they took the incident seriously and had dismissed the flight attendant.
'The safety of our guests is our top priority and we do not tolerate any breaches of this,' a spokeswoman said.
'We have expressed our sincere apologies to the guest and have provided them with a credit for the full amount of the two return flights.'
Airlines consider 'child-free zones'
Air passenger breaks into cargo hold through toilet and steals $238k
Revealed: the silliest mid-air passenger requests
Give us your views! What do you think of this story?