Virgin Australia forces a man to stand on transcon flight.

Discussion in 'Travel News' started by markis10, May 5, 2014.

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  1. markis10

    markis10 Veteran Member

    Nov 25, 2004
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    SAM Cawthorn is a loyal Virgin Australia passenger and a frequent flyer who usually receives excellent service.

    So he was shocked when he was forced to stand on an overnight flight from Perth to Brisbane last Friday due to his disability.
    Mr Cawthorn, a motivational speaker, author and the 2009 Young Australian of the Year for Tasmania, is 6”3 and has a fused leg and a prosthetic arm. He simply cannot fit in just any seat on a plane.
    So when he boarded the flight and realised his assigned seat wasn’t suitable, he asked the cabin supervisor to be moved.

    Disabled passenger Sam Cawthorn forced to stand on Virgin Australia flight | News.com.au
     

  2. N860CR

    N860CR Established Member

    Nov 30, 2004
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    I really struggle to see how somebody who claims to be a VA WP could get onto one of their planes not knowing the type of seating available.

    He claims he "doesn't fit in a normal airline seat", so why did he booked one?

    Clearly chasing a free J upgrade.
     
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  3. Hvr

    Hvr Senior Member

    Jun 27, 2007
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    A few too many things not right here:

    Is he fair dinkum? A regular traveller with specific needs doesn't realise his assigned seat isn't suitable? He has the ability by virtue of his status to choose the better seats. I saw the story on the news last night and it seemed to me he was counting on being upgraded to J either with points or an op-up.

    And then this:
    I wonder if he was expecting other people to be moved to less desirable seats? If so then I'm glad they didn't move others because he didn't plan ahead.

    As a motivational speaker he knows that planning ahead is part of the reason for success in everything you do. Frankly this DYKWIA attitude demeans his message and shows him up as someone who expects others to give him things because he wants them.

    Apparently part of his spiel is about overcoming adversity, in this instance he failed himself and is blaming others.
     
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  4. robd

    robd Established Member

    Nov 8, 2011
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    Gosh, how long is his leg?

    "He was relocated to a row of three empty seats but his leg, which doesn’t bend at all, extended into the aisle and was repeatedly hit by other passengers and the food trolley."
     
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  5. markis10

    markis10 Veteran Member

    Nov 25, 2004
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    Doesnt have to be too long when the seats are 17in wide assuming your using one of the three for your bottom etc.
     
  6. Anna

    Anna Established Member

    Jan 17, 2005
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    Accidentally?
     
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  7. serfty

    Moderator

    Nov 16, 2004
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    Also this:
    I wonder how the latter was addressed?
     
  8. lovestotravel

    lovestotravel Senior Member

    Sep 18, 2008
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    I can only laugh when these types of articles make the "press" because someone who has flown so much doesn't get what they want (free upgrade)

    He has spoken in 12 countries and is a "loyal" Virgin FF with Platinum status, so clearly he has flown VA many times and other airlines many times and given the relatively small fleet configurations with Virgin he should be more than well aware of the seats that are suitable for him.

    His disability doesn't appear to be a recent one, so he has flown considerably with his disability - So he should know better

    My thoughts - He wanted a free business class upgrade
     
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  9. yo yo ma

    yo yo ma Active Member

    Mar 15, 2007
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    Sounds like he is either after some free publicity for his business or a free upgrade... sorry Sam but your story is just not believable. If you are a platinum FF you would know about your seat allocation before you boarded.

    I wonder what his solution would be on a full flight?
     
  10. QF WP

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    #10 QF WP, May 5, 2014
    Last edited: May 5, 2014
    No self-respecting motivational speaker flies Y...they have J written into their contracts for speaking engagements. He must be on the "B" circuit.


    There are just too many holes in his story - if he's a Plat, then surely he (or his TA) know well what needs to be done (special assistance)
     
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  11. harvyk

    harvyk Senior Member

    Apr 15, 2009
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    Yeah, I'm with the others (and I came to that conclusion whilst reading the article, not seeing the comments here), if he was a first time flyer, sure I'd believe that he had made a genuine mistake. But as a plat it's not like this was his first (or second or even third) time on a plane.

    +1 on the belief he was simply asking for a free upgrade to J...
     
  12. Princess Fiona

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    May 22, 2009
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    Like others I think there has to be a lot more to the story than what's in the report.
    I'm going to reserve my judgment as I'm not aware of the full facts.
    I will however say that not all Plats are as fastidious in seat allocation and knowing aircraft types etc as some of us on here. Shrek for example wouldn't even have a clue what aircraft type he was flying and cares not if he's in row 23 or row 53 as long as it's not a middle seat.

    Like most cluster-f*#&s there's clearly been a breakdown in communication either at check-in/ lounge/onboard.

    I don't know too many VA Plats who score onboard free upgrades as a regular occurrence and I suspect this pax is not one of them and may not have been seeking one either.
     
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  13. yo yo ma

    yo yo ma Active Member

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    His accident occurred in 2006 according to his website, so you are right it is not recent. His website will be enjoying the increase in traffic so maybe he is getting the desired result?
     
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  14. RB

    RB Established Member

    Nov 17, 2004
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    ISTR that Ten news said that the armrests of the row of 3 he was offered did not lift so that alternative did not work.
     
  15. robd

    robd Established Member

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    Well if that's the case, it would not be a suitable solution to the problem.

    Can anyone suggest which seat would work (excluding J)?
     
  16. Reggie

    Reggie Established Member

    Mar 20, 2006
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    I think he was on his own coin this trip. I was attending a separate training course at Cliftons in Perth, and he was there doing what appeared to be a fee for attendance event.
     
  17. harvyk

    harvyk Senior Member

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    The average plat (or flyer in general) probably doesn't have memorized the seat maps for every aircraft they could encounter, then again, the average plat is physically capable of sitting in any seat on the aircraft (inc 53E, despite what some might say). They may not be happy about it, but they will physically fit.

    With this guy, he's is unable to just fit in any seat (otherwise this wouldn't be a discussion point), and as such there should be some degree of personal responsibility towards ensuring that he does book suitable seats.

    As you say, there is probably a bit more than what is being reported.
     
  18. eastwest101

    eastwest101 Established Member

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    Given that he has limited ability to bend his right leg and is 6ft 4" tall it would appear that he has either jagged an exit row Y seat a Row 3 Y seat or an upgrade to J on every previous VA flight. In this case - it sounds like something went wrong with the J upgrade or Y exit row request.
     
  19. Princess Fiona

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    May 22, 2009
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    IIRC there are or were reports here of VA seat-shifting passengers including Plats. Could it be that his carefully selected seat disappeared due to one of those ground staff mix-ups?
     
  20. eastwest101

    eastwest101 Established Member

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    Or a dreaded last minute equipment change from a new A330 to XFA/XFB? Or A330 to a B738 substitution ?
     
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