Newsbeat

FlyBe: Racism claims denied by airline following viral video

Chloe Williams, Abigail Nsumbi Male, Abigail Bazola and Zahonie Mills Image copyright Chloe Williams/Getty Images
Image caption Chloe Williams (bottom left), with friends Abigail Male, Abigail Bazola and Zahonie Mills

FlyBe has denied racism was the reason it stopped a British group getting on a flight from the Netherlands to the UK.

Videos posted to social media by the sister of Chloe Williams - who was one of four women who were denied boarding - accused the staff of "racial profiling".

The airline says it stopped the passengers from boarding because of their "disruptive behaviour".

Chloe, 20, told Radio 1 Newsbeat her family would take legal action.

The group of friends had been in Amsterdam for the Oh My! Festival to celebrate the end of their year of studying.

Chloe says the problem started when the flight they were meant to be on - which was taking them back to Birmingham on Sunday - began boarding.

The 20-year-old, from London, said her group were first in line but weren't seated in the seat numbers that had been called for boarding - so they were asked to stand to the side.

But when it was their turn she claims their passports were briefly taken and they were told they wouldn't be allowed on.

"The attendant said 'It's my plane, I decide who goes on'," Chloe says.

FlyBe denies that the group's passports were taken at any stage, by them or by the Dutch police.

Chloe claims that airport staff threw a "barrage" of insults at her and her friends - and denies that any of them were threatening towards FlyBe staff.

The airline says it's taken the allegations made by the group "extremely seriously" and they were investigated "as a matter of urgency".

It told Radio 1 Newsbeat: "Flybe's third party ground services' agents did feel threatened by the aggressive behaviour and language used towards them by this group of passengers."

Video footage of the incident was posted by Chloe's sister - who was not part of the group - on to Twitter where it went viral with more than 20,000 retweets.

FlyBe claims the word "disgust" used towards the group was "misinterpreted" in the video and was meant to refer to the fact the gate agent was "disgusted by their behaviour".

"There was no intention for this to be communicated or received as a personal insult to any of the passengers involved."

FlyBe says it "stands by its decision" to stop the passengers boarding because of their "disruptive behaviour".

It also claims to have been in touch with a family member of the passengers involved - something Chloe says hasn't happened.

The group eventually made it back on the Eurostar train - 24 hours after the flight they were supposed to be on had left.

Chloe says the tickets cost her friends £240 each.

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