A male flight attendant has had his contract terminated after putting a 17 month old toddler in the overhead locker and shutting the door on him mid way through a flight from Fiji to Sydney, Australia.
The child’s mother Natalie Williamson said her son, Riley, has been suffering from anxiety and withdrawal since the incident during the recent Virgin Blue flight.
The angry mother also stated that she and her now estranged husband Shayne, had been shocked by the flight attendants actions and whilst other passengers were laughing, she demanded “Get my son out of there now.”
A Virgin spokesperson confirmed that the incident had taken place but maintained that the child’s father had been playing a game of ‘peek-a –boo’ with the child which involved the overhead locker, before the attendant came along and joined in. They also stated “We conducted a thorough investigation of the incident and the staff member involved was subsequently terminated.” They added “The safety of our guests is our top priority and we do not tolerate any breaches of this kind.”
Riley, now 20 months old was shut in complete darkness for around 10 seconds before the door was opened and Ms Williamson added that she was devastated by what had happened and could not stop crying for days afterwards.
Ms Williamson said that the manager on board the flight had urged her to complain, saying to her “I need you to complain, I need you to do something. Write or ring. Do whatever you can.”
She also added that Riley wouldn’t leave her sight, has to sleep in the same room as her and screams for her if she leaves the room.
The airline has offered the family free flights in compensation but Ms Williamson says she is too shaken to use them.