WGW2707, hate to make you have to get off that high horse, but this is not a policy
of Virgin Blue. For if it was, it would be in direct contravention of the Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act 1992. What is was, was a complete breakdown in communication and misinformation on the part of the DJ
But it is inexcusable that staff fobbed the couple off by using the "I'm too busy" line. Arrangements could have been easily made.
And the reason you don't hear of such situations in the US is because of multi-million dollar lawsuits in the early 1980s. And tied into ltbewr's comments -- such a lawsuit would not happen in this country, for two reasons: 1) we aren't, thankfully, as a litigious society as the US, and 2) any compensation awarded by any court would be minimal (civil compensation in such cases of over a couple thousand dollars is almost unheard of).
So yes, it might be unheard of for this to happen in the US, but it is equally unheard of here for a passenger (or group of passengers) to be offloaded for no other reason than wearing a turban or looking Muslim. And by the way WGW2707, most of the criticism directed at US-airlines by my fellow brethren is more often than not quite deserved, including an embarrassing situation I was put in by UA
cabin and flight crew (for which I didn't take the litigious road).
Ltbewr, that pig story on US Airways, turned out not to be a 'guide' pig. It was alleged that the people taking this 150kg on a flight across the country, were doing so to return it to it's owners. I remember hearing something about it going berzerk in the FIRST class cabin with the person who this pig was supposed to be assisting, was unable to get it (or even keep it) under control. That story seemed more of a scam to me. The people returning the pig to it's owner was faced with 2 options: 1) pay for a 150kg pig to travel in the cargo hold (at great cost), or 2) claim it was a 'guide' pig and get it carried for free in the cabin, and if the airline should decline to carry it, they cry bloody murder.
Also, there is nothing in Australian law specifying that any transport provider needs to provide these mats. Not that I can find anyways.
Edit add: BTW WGW2707, you will find that QF also provide meals on short flights not only in Business Class, but also to the common folk in Economy Class. Just thought I would throw that in to get under your skin a tiny bit more
[Edited 2004-11-15 20:40:50]