New Chief Executive defends pilot’s faux-pas
British Airways has been forced to suspend its flights to Bermuda in an escalating row over manners that saw Bermuda’s traffic controllers refuse landing permission to a packed flight from London Gatwick. The pilot stunned duty controller Warwick Dickinson by neglecting to say good afternoon when first making contact – and then ignoring several conversational prompts to do so. A shocked Dickinson said, "There’s no way I could let the bye land, so I kept him circling. I thought he’d get the point but these foreigners are sometimes just rude. I passed him over to my supervisor when he didn’t comply with the required greeting."
Supervisor Lashaquakeisha Smith says that, on greeting pilot George Huntingdon, she was met with a startling and abusive rant. "He accused me of being a prostitute. An old one at that. I immediately told him that the only place his language would get him is a return flight across the Atlantic Ocean. I declined his request and sent him away to learn some manners."
Since the incident, industrial action by the Controllers’ Union of National Traffic (yeah, you can figure the acronym) means that flights from BA have been refused entry to Bermuda’s air space. A union spokesperson says this will not change until BA issues an official apology and sacks the disgraced pilot. "We cannot understand why they are protecting such atrocious behaviour," he said.
BA has issued a statement apologizing for any "misunderstanding" but says it does not give grounds to dismiss a pilot with "a long and distinguished flying record." It claims that in English, "What-ho old girl," is an appropriate greeting and not an accusation of geriatric prostitution. Furthermore, it claims that "Top hole, jolly good show," is not in fact a form of prohibited adult entertainment and has absolutely no sexual reference. In fact, they say, it is meant as a compliment.
"Well, if referring to genitalia and bodily orifices is a compliment where they come from, we don’t need their kind in Bermuda anyway," says a furious and traumatized Smith. "They should behave by our rules and speak our way. If they don’t like it, they can just leave!"
* no, this isn't real either