Atinka Media Village, organisers of the plus size women reality show, ‘Di Asa’ has reacted to news that winner of the 2019 contest, Precious Mensah (PM), was kicked out of Emirates’ aircraft to Dubai because of her size, alleging that the airline ticketing agent exhibited “unfair treatment, unprofessional and discrimination” against the dance queen.
Emirates in an earlier press release justified why Precious Mensah could not board one of its aircrafts as it indicated that for safety reasons, the organisers of Di Asa should have bought extra seats for her.
A spokesperson of the airline said the company “places the highest standards on in-flight safety and as part of this, it is a requirement that all passengers are safely and comfortably seated with their seatbelt fastened. An industry practice for passengers who cannot be accommodated in a single seat due to their size is for them to purchase an extra seat for their own safety and comfort, should a seat be available.”
But in a counter statement chronicling how Precious Mensah missed her flight, Albert Kwabena Dwumfour, Executive Producer/Managing Director of Atinka Media Village noted that Emirates acted in bad faith, stressing that the challenge is not about money.
“Our Queens including PM went through all the departure formalities on the travel date with representatives of the ticketing agent present to assist them in the departure formalities. This is because we had informed them about the sizes of the Queens and the need for special seating.
“At about 5:30 pm, a few minutes to boarding time, when all the queens had completed the check-in process, an Emirates official, informed us (AMV) that the Airline could not complete the Check-in process for PM without offering tangible or logical reasons.
“When pushed further and asked why, they informed us PM could not board the plane due to safety reasons. When we enquired further, they said they were in consultation with their superiors at the Emirates Office at Mövenpick Hotel in Accra for further directives,” the statement read.
It continued: “We further asked them if the problem had to do with seating and if procuring additional seat could solve the problem, but the Emirates officials at the airport said there was no need for that (it must be emphasized that PM was present and witnessed all these engagements with the Emirates officials).
“It must also be on record that the airline ticketing agent had been duly informed that the tickets were for plus- sized passengers (Di Asa Season 3 winners).
“Around 6:15 pm, still in the presence of PM, the Emirates officials came up with an option – per the official’s statement, the only option available then per consultations with the Airline Superiors back at the office, was to go by first class (Please bear in mind that the departure time was 6:50 pm). At this point, we decided to adhere to the directives by offering our accumulated mileage to upgrade our Queen’s seat to first class. We offered to upgrade our Queen’s seat to first class with our accumulated mileage due to the timing of the information as AMV was ready to fly our Queen to Dubai at all cost. Emirates Airline again denied us this offer saying we could not use our mileage at that time and still requested us to pay a top-up of almost $10,000 which is equivalent to GH¢ 57,000 at the last minute for the First Class.”
According to organisers, they were advised to “take her to the Emirates office at Mövenpick Hotel the following day, with a further explanation that they had sent a mail to their superiors and that they had been advised to bring her over for further assessment and advice” when it became clear PM had missed her flight.
“After going through all this stress and after PM had checked in at the Airport to begin boarding formalities, at about 5:45 pm, we (AMV) received a call from the Emirates Office in Accra that their superiors in Dubai had directed them to take an additional $2000 dollars for two economy seats and extension of seat belts when it was few minutes to departure, a request we had earlier made but was rejected by the Emirates officers the previous day.”
Below is the full statement issued by Atinka Media Village