Air rage mom and daughter attacked pilot in row over child's pram
London - A mother and daughter attacked an airline captain after they were told they couldn’t store a child buggy in the cabin, a court heard.
Mary Roberts, 53, and Henrietta Mitaiare, 23, allegedly pushed pilot Guido Keel into the cockpit before biting, scratching and kicking him on the floor.
The pair, who had travelled from Zurich to London with Mitaiare’s young daughter, launched the attack after their flight arrived at Heathrow on May 2 last year.
Before they left Switzerland, Mitaiare asked a flight attendant whether her ‘expensive’ buggy could go in the cabin rather than the hold – but was refused, Uxbridge magistrates’ court heard.
An argument started when two airport workers arrived, before Roberts ‘stepped in to calm her daughter down’. After landing at Heathrow Mitaiare asked cabin crew for the names of the Swiss airport workers so she could make a complaint. This prompted Capt Keel to come out from the cockpit, said Arlene De Silva, prosecuting.
Cabin manager Ali Chkerdaa, who had refused to allow Mitaiare to carry the buggy on board in Zurich, said Mitaiare told the pilot: "Don’t meddle with it, you have nothing to do with it."
Chkerdaa said: "She said Swiss people are racist, because she was a black woman travelling with a child.
‘She said, “Don’t touch me.” The moment he touched her she went all crazy."
The court was shown footage in which Mitaiare is heard saying: "Why did you put your hands on me? Why did you hit a woman? Do you think you have the power?"
Capt Keel responds: "I have the power."
Miss De Silva said: "She [Mitaiare] grabbed the captain by the hand and pushed him into the cockpit. There was a tussle. She ended up on top of the captain."
"The mother was kicking the captain while he was on the floor, saying “Get off my daughter”.
The Swiss Air pilot sustained scratches to his face and arm and a bite on his upper arm, Miss De Silva said. Friedrich Prieler, the co-pilot, said he was hesitant to use force to stop the struggle because Mitaiare is a woman.
Asked if Capt Keel had failed to show similar restraint, Prieler made reference to the so-called Tokyo Convention, which grants certain immunities for captains on their aircraft if they believe there is a threat to safety.
"He was not punching. He used his weight advantage," he said.
Mitaiare and Roberts, of south-west London, were removed from the plane by police and arrested. They deny failing to obey the lawful commands of the aircraft’s captain and assault by beating.
The trial continues.Daily Mail