Socialist MP Ronald van Raak has asked the human rights tribunal College voor de Rechten van de Mens to rule against KLM after he accused the airline of discriminating against his wife on a transatlantic flight.
Van Raak’s partner was seated next to a group of orthodox Jewish men on the plane travelling from New York to Amsterdam in May. He said cabin staff asked him and his wife to move because none of the men would take their seat next to a woman.
After a heated exchange of words, the MP and his wife agreed to move to avoid holding up the flight, but Van Raak complained to the airline after arriving home.
‘After five months we still have not had a clear answer from KLM,’ said Van Raak. ‘It’s now up to the tribunal to make a judgment and hopefully that will lead to KLM amending its procedures.’
KLM said in a tweet that it regretted the ‘uncomfortable situation’ that the Van Raaks had experienced, but defended the cabin staff’s decision. ‘Where a situation arises on board the crew attempts to find a good way to solve and especially to prevent it escalating. That requires us to find a balance, and it applies in this case too.’
The national flag carrier came under fire in July when staff asked a mother to cover herself while breastfeeding on a flight from San Francisco to Amsterdam after another passenger objected. The mother, Shelby Angel, triggered a flood of angry responses when she posted about her experience on Facebook.
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