BA May Get Sued Over BA2069

Mon Mar 12, 2001 6:37 am

From A.Net News Section:

Passengers on the British Airways plane that almost crashed when a crazed man wrestled with the pilot are threatening to sue the airline.
Accusing the airline of ignoring the trauma caused when flight BA2069 dived thousands of feet, the passengers insist on a detailed explanation for the airline's failure to prevent an unstable man from boarding the plane. The plane was flying from London to Nairobi in December with 379 people on board when a mentally ill man entered the cockpit and tried to seize the controls. He was subdued after a violent struggle and the pilot regained control.

One female passenger who did not want to be named said last week: 'We just feel their attitude stinks. They are doing everything they can to avoid taking responsibility. The group is more concerned with getting to the bottom of the security lapses. That is the scariest thing about the whole episode. We want them to explain how that happened.'

There were at least four opportunities to prevent Kenyan Paul Mukonyi, apparently suffering from schizophrenia, from boarding the flight after he attracted the attention of police and airline staff. In a series of meetings at London Heathrow last month, senior BA executives revealed to passengers that Mukonyi, while travelling from Lyons to London Gatwick for his connection to Nairobi, had asked a BA stewardess if he could hijack the plane.

At Gatwick, the police were called after he told airport staff he had been followed from Lyons by men who wanted to kill him. Despite Mukonyi's incoherent claims and his behaviour on the flight from Lyons, he was allowed to board the flight to Nairobi.

BA's offer of a free flight has been dismissed as inappropriate by some passengers, who admitted that after their experience they were afraid of flying. 'If you had suffered from food poisoning would you really want to be given more food? It was an insensitive offer,' said Oliver Heath, a designer on BBC TV's Changing Rooms who was a passenger on the flight.

Warning signs of Mukonyi's unusual behaviour emerged at Lyons airport before he boarded a flight to Gatwick. Twice he told French airport police that he was nervous of boarding the plane. Officers escorted him to the BA check-in desk where they told staff to keep an eye on him. Later Mukonyi raised concerns by asking an air steward on the BA flight to London if the plane could be hijacked. Mukonyi also reportedly tried to use the galley intercom on the flight to call the police, apparently believing it was a telephone.

This was relayed to the captain of the plane, who radioed ahead to Gatwick and asked for an escort to take Mukonyi to his connecting flight to Nairobi.

However, no BA ground staff were available and Mukonyi was instead escorted by airport security to the transfer area. The final warning sign came when Mukonyi told BA staff at Gatwick that he wanted to see the police because he believed people had followed him from Lyons. Two policemen spoke to him, but it was concluded that he was just a nervous flier.

Passengers last week told the BA executives how, during the flight, Mukonyi frequently walked up and down the aisles looking nervous and carrying plastic trays. 'I honestly thought he was staff. He looked so busy, walking up and down, and he was wearing a huge puffa jacket even though it was warm inside the plane,' said passenger Les Smith, 40, who works for a London architecture salvage firm.

Just before dawn, as the plane was passing over Sudan, Mukonyi walked through the economy-class cabin, past the club class section and climbed the stairs into first class. He pushed open the unlocked cockpit door and attacked the pilot, and the plane went into a dive.

For many passengers the prospect of the return flight was a nightmare. Many were terrified of getting back on a plane, but no special treatment was offered.

The first time passengers met a BA staff member assigned to care for their welfare was when they arrived back in London, more than two weeks after the incident.

BA yesterday defended its record in dealing with the incident and said it had provided help to passengers at Nairobi airport and offered them counselling.


RE: BA May Get Sued Over BA2069

Mon Mar 12, 2001 6:41 am

First Mistake!!!

BA's Upper Deck hosts Club World not "First Class"!!

Never mind...  Insane
Posts: 11621
Joined: Mon Nov 13, 2000 4:06 am

RE: BA May Get Sued Over BA2069

Mon Mar 12, 2001 7:10 am

I have two opinions.

As much as I abhor British Airways, I don't think it was their fault and therefore shouldn't be sued.


The passengers were put through some considerable trauma. They should be compensated. By BA? Maybe. By the man that tried to hijack it? Rather him please.
Anyone can fly, only the best Soar.

RE: BA May Get Sued Over BA2069

Mon Mar 12, 2001 7:12 am

I think BA dealt with this situation very well. The same people where complain only a while ago that BA was not paying for the suspect medical bills like they where every other passengers! I am very happy that BA did not!!
I think BA's offer a free flight is very generation, what else are they going to offer? Lost luggage?

RE: BA May Get Sued Over BA2069

Mon Mar 12, 2001 7:22 am


BA ain't at fault for the violent manouevres that took place (which is presumably the cause of the "trauma"), but should they have allowed a pax of questionable character to board the a/c in the first place.


1) Cabin crew have to deal with a large number of pax at boarding time. Apparently, Mr.Mukonyi's condition did not (always!) manifest itself in his physical behavioural appearence. He might have looked perfectly sane at times.

2) Difficult for Cabin crew to refuse boarding to "suspect" pax. It's this question of where do you draw a line. When does a "normal pax" become a "suspect pax"? In some cases (drunkenness), it is obvious.

3) Should BA neccesarily turn back anyone with any history of mental problems?

4) Should they accept pax that fall into category mentioned in problem 3?

5) If so, should they restrain them throughout?

6) Would this mean BA breeching EU Human rights Act?

7) Should BA neccesarily compensate pax that were not physically injured by the above incident?

Etc. Etc,

My 2 shillings worth!! Big grin
Posts: 1232
Joined: Sat Oct 30, 1999 5:01 am

RE: BA May Get Sued Over BA2069

Mon Mar 12, 2001 9:32 am

I agree with CaptPicard on this issue of British Airways is NOT @ FAULT after a Kenyan man attacked the Airlines' crews. If Passengers Wants To Sue BA, I Will Not Let Them !!!!!!!!! Both pilots gained control of the plane(Boeing 744) after it dived thousands of feet, but why BLAME the airlines ..?????

~~~Use Your Head !!!!!!!!!!!!!!~~~

Baec777  Big thumbs up

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