Saturday, 9th March 2013
ROYAL NAVY GIRL TOLD: TAKE OFF UNIFORM OR GET OFF THE FLIGHT – When I first came across this item of news I wasn’t quite sure if I was reading it correctly. I not only felt deeply offended but I was in a state of shock and disbelief.
For the past 15 years Nicky Howse has served her country, doing her bit to ensure that I and other members of the British public have liberty and freedom. Nicky is a very proud member of the Royal Navy, working as an engineer and has placed her life at risk serving in Afghanistan.
Nicky had been on deployment in the US but due to the death of her grandfather was granted compassionate leave to attend his funeral back in the UK. After the funeral Petty Officer Nicky Howse had to return to duty and therefore, with her ticket in hand, she arrived at the Virgin Atlantic desk in Great Britain which is where her troubles began.
She was initially approached by GS4 Security who informed her that she would need to change into civilian clothes as her military uniform might cause offense to some of their international passengers. They also told her that she might be at risk from abuse, to which she pointed out, that if she could deal with the Taliban she could certainly deal with a few passengers.
The situation heated up as Nicky was then approached by Virgin Atlantic Staff who told her that it was ‘company policy’ not to allow British service personnel to fly while in uniform and that if she didn’t change or wear one of the flights ‘sleeper suits’ she would not be allowed to travel.
What Petty Officer Nicky Howse did not understand was the fact that only a few weeks prior she flew, with Virgin Atlantic, from Los Angeles to the United Kingdom, in uniform, without any such issues.
“It was horrific. I was made to feel uncomfortable in my own country for wearing the uniform I wear to defend the place. It made me ashamed of my country that a British serviceman can’t travel in uniform. I was so distressed.” Petty Officer Nicky Howse
In the end Nicky suffered the most appalling humiliation I could ever imagine. If I had been a passenger on that flight and knew about it I would have stood up, announced the problem to my fellow passengers and then walked off the aircraft vowing never to step foot upon another Virgin flight.
“This is an insult to the Royal Navy and to the British armed forces who the Queen’s uniform represents.” Colonel Richard Kemp, who led British forces in Afghanistan
There was no mention of as to whether Sir Richard Branson, the CEO of Virgin, was made aware of this problem. Sir Richard is staunchly British and extremely patriotic and I am sure, once he has the full facts, that a number of staff at Virgin Atlantic are going to be rightfully given their P45’s.
As Colonel Kemp rightly pointed out Nicky wears the Queen’s uniform and therefore this is a direct insult to Her Majesty – personally I feel this goes a lot further and is almost tantamount to high treason to the crown. I wonder whether GS4 and Virgin Atlantic Staff would ask the Queen to wear a brown paper bag over her head just in case her presence offended non-British passengers.
This is a complete and utter disgrace and a clear disrespect for those who give so much protecting our liberty and freedom. This simply cannot be allowed to happen.
We British so often like to think that we are so much better than the Americans, but I can tell you this that Service Personnel in the US are highly respected and their service very much appreciated. Often clothing stores, bars, restaurants and other business will give military personnel heavy discount due to the service of their country. It is nothing unusual to see military personnel, in uniform, walking off a civilian flight to be appalled as they walk through the airport by their countrymen – that’s how much they appreciate what they do for their liberty and freedom.
What GS4 and Virgin Atlantic staff put Nicky through is nothing less than a direct insult to her willingness to protect our freedoms and an insult to Her Majesty the Queen.
I for one, unless I find news that Sir Richard Branson has taken direct action over this incident, will never fly Virgin again. I refuse to be part of something that will not show its gratitude to those who give so much and ask for so little in return.
Petty Officer Nicky Howse… We at Meebal.com would like to thank you personally for everything you do for us and our country. You will always have our utmost respect, gratitude and admiration. God bless you.