Published on Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Lawyers demand compensation for racially abused Ryanair passenger

Lawyers representing Delsie Gayle, the 77-year-old who was racially abused on a Ryanair flight last month, have written to the airline demanding an explanation, apology and compensation.

They say the airline's response to the incident, which happened on a Barcelona-Stansted flight on October 19, was 'woeful'.

"Ryanair needs to take this issue seriously," said Richard Meeran, head of Leigh Day's international department.

'It should apologise properly to Mrs Gayle and compensate her for the distress it has caused her. It should take responsibility for the crude mishandling of the incident and explain what action it has taken over this incident and what steps it is taking to minimise the risk of future abuse of its passengers."

In a letter, which Ryanair claims it has not yet received, the law firms demands to know why no action was taken by the cabin crew against the perpetrator of the insults, what steps Ryanair is taking to minimise the risk of similar incidents in the future, what internal investigations are being conducted by Ryanair, and what training will now be given to Ryanair crew.

The lawyers claim that at no point at the time or afterwards did any member of the cabin crew check their client's wellbeing and say Ryanair did not make contact with Mrs Gayle until November 2 when their letter, dated 21 October, sent by post from Ireland, was received.

In the meantime, her lawyers claim Ryanair released the letter marked 'Private and Confidential' to the media.

A Ryanair spokesman said today: "We have not yet received any letter from these lawyers. Given that Ryanair immediately reported this matter to the Essex Police when we became aware of the video, and apologised in writing to the affected passenger, it is already crystal clear that Ryanair has taken this issue seriously."

Ryanair had earlier issued a statement insisting it has acted appropriately by reporting the matter to Essex police and immediately writing to and emailing Mrs Gayle. It also claimed cabin crew had not witnessed the racial abuse that was videoed by a fellow passenger.

An online petition by human rights activist Zita Holbourne has attracted nearly 350,000 signatures. She helped Mrs Gayle get legal representation.

"Ryanair can and must do better by Mrs Gayle so we will continue to campaign and give our solidarity until they do," she said this week.

A spokeswoman for Essex Police said the investigation into the incident is ongoing.

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