This took place not long ago when I had to fly to Singapore for a business meeting. I had taken a night flight to return to Bangkok hoping for some sleep. With luck, as I approached the gate, I could see no small children or babies. Breathing a sigh of relief I sat down and waited for boarding.
After a while I noticed a young girl who was on her own. I was puzzled as to why she had no parents and assumed that they were simply in the bathroom and thought nothing more of it. When I entered the aircraft I was happy to see that it was a large plane, the seats being in 2 – 3 – 2 formation. I had the aisle seat and hoped the other two would be empty. Suddenly I saw the young girl approaching. I realised the girl was not so young up close. She sat in her seat in the middle, giving me a shy smile as she did so.
There were no more people coming in and I assumed that the other aisle seat would be empty, so I suggested she move there when the gate closed and she agreed. Unfortunately a very large old lady started to come down the aisle, complaining as she did so, and plopped herself next to the young girl.
We took off and the lady immediately took in the fact that the girl was of Pakistani descent and started yelling about how they were taking her jobs. I was absolutely appalled as the lady continued to yell these things while the girl looked as though she was about to cry. I called the FA and she told the old lady to be quiet; she could not move the girl as it was a full flight.
The old lady was quiet for a while and then seemed to have objections when the girl plugged in her iPod. She again started a rant about how people like her should be thankful that “whites” invented the technology she loves so much. The girl was trying to block her out; however it seemed that she had had enough and by this point everyone around us was listening. She got out and secured herself in one of the FA special seats. When the FA arrived she told the girl to return and she refused. She told the FA about what happened and other passengers around her vouched for her.
The FA looked flustered and at this point the old lady started to attack me. The FA disappeared and returned saying there were two seats in first class for the girl and her “Aunt” (me). The girl did not deny this and we spent a lovely night in first class. I thanked the girl once we left and she said thank you for trying to help.