Natalie Williamson claims that during a Virgin flight from Fiji to Sydney her 17-month-old son Riley was picked up by a flight attendant, placed in an overhead bin, and locked in.
Although Virgin Airlines admits the incident occurred, they claim that Williamson’s now estranged husband was playing a “peek-a-boo game” with the young boy involving the overhead storage when the flight attendant decided to join in. The baby was locked in the compartment for ten seconds.
“We conducted a thorough investigation of the incident and the staff member involved was subsequently terminated,” a Virgin spokeswoman told the Sunday Herald Sun.
In compensation for emotional damages and inappropriate flight behavior, the airlines offered her three free flights. Riley’s mother claims that the experience was too horrifying for her to redeem and fly with the same airline again.
“My husband was standing one meter behind my son, Riley, when the air steward picked him up and placed him in the overhead compartment,” she said. “I stood up and there were people laughing and then I said ‘Get my son out of there now’. I was devastated. I was absolutely devastated.” Her and her husband were in shock following the flight, Williamson added.
Following the incident, Williamson was immediately approached by airline officials on board the flight.
“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. She claims that her son has seen several specialists because the baby suffered from anxiety and withdrawal after the incident.
The airlines company took the incident seriously and fired the employee.
“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.”