If this had happened in the US… Well, let just say it wouldn’t happen here:
For 15 years she has proudly served her country as a Royal Navy engineer, risking her life in Afghanistan when she fought against the Taliban.
But far from showing Nicky Howse the respect she deserved as she flew back to her latest posting, Virgin Atlantic staff chose to humiliate her – by demanding that she remove her uniform because it was ‘offensive’.
They warned the 32-year-old helicopter technician she would not be allowed to fly unless she took off her combat fatigues and wore a sleep suit instead.
Petty Officer Howse is on a three-month deployment with a helicopter unit in the US, but had been home on compassionate leave to attend her grandfather’s funeral. She had worn her uniform without any problems on a Virgin flight from America to Britain the week before.
The incident happened as she waited for her return flight to Los Angeles from Heathrow on Monday.
She was confronted by a G4S security guard and Virgin Atlantic staff, who ordered her to change into pyjamas before boarding the jet.
They told her – wrongly – that it was the company’s policy not to allow military personnel to travel in uniform.
As Petty Officer Howse herself put it:
‘To clarify, a British airline who claims to be Britain’s flag carrier won’t allow a member of Britain’s armed forces to travel on their airline in uniform.’ Armed Forces rules state that a serviceman or woman can wear their uniforms voluntarily from their ‘residence to place of duty, irrespective of whether they travel by public or private transport, or on foot.’
That’s a fine “thank you for your service,” isn’t it?
A commenter at the Daily Mail site pointed out that G4S is the same firm that couldn’t properly handle security for the recent Olympics, necessitating the deployment of the British Army. Maybe their customers should reconsider hiring the services of such a bunch of incompetents.
Virgin has admitted the error and apologized to Petty Officer Howse. They ought to comp her a couple of free flights, too, while explaining to their staff that the British military is not the enemy.
Read the rest for further examples of the ill treatment of men and women who wear the Queen’s uniform. Something is very wrong in the UK, these days.
via ST’s Hot Headlines