BA checked in my bag and gave it back with Nazi graf­fiti

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY CANDICE KRIEGER

BRI­TISH AIR­WAYS this week apol­o­gised to a pas­sen­ger whose lug­gage was daubed with Nazi graf­fiti ap­par­ently while in tran­sit.

Emma Pelta, 29, a mem­ber of Loughton Syn­a­gogue in Es­sex, flew from Lon­don Gatwick to Or­lando, Florida, last De­cem­ber.

But it was not un­til she ar­rived at her boyfriend’s home in Florida, she says, that she re­alised her bags were marked with a large swastika and the ini­tials NF (as­sumed to stand for Na­tional Front).

She has spent the past five months re­quest­ing an apol­ogy from the air­line, call­ing them more than 20 times.

It was not un­til the JC con­tacted BA this week that a mem­ber of their cus­tomer-ser­vice team phoned Ms Pelta to apol­o­gise and of­fer a £150 flight voucher. BA also promised to send flow­ers and a let­ter of apol­ogy.

“It’s been a long time com­ing,” said Ms Pelta, a med­i­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tive who gave up her job to go to Florida.

“They should have apol­o­gised ear­lier. I don’t think they nec­es­sar­ily un­der­stand the se­ri­ous­ness of see­ing a swastika and NF ini­tials on my bag.

“To me, it is a big deal, and I am com­pletely of­fended be­yond words with what I saw. I told them I still want to re­ceive an ac­tual let­ter of apol­ogy.

“On be­half of the Jewish com­mu­nity, I want to know that this is go­ing to be in­ves­ti­gated prop­erly with steps be­ing taken to en­sure the safety of the com­mu­nity and that some­thing like this does not hap­pen again while bags are in their care.”

Ms Pelta first con­tacted the air­line from Florida on the day she re­alised that her bags had been marked.

“I told them that I wanted a let­ter of apol­ogy and some sort of com­pen­sa­tion for my bag.”

She re­ceived a $160 cheque (£80) to pay for the dam­age to her bag, but was told that the mat­ter needed to be dealt with in the UK.

When she re­turned to Lon­don in March, she con­tacted BA again, only to re­ceive a let­ter writ­ten on be­half of Heathrow Ter­mi­nal 5 apol­o­gis­ing for any bag­gage prob­lems.

“I mean, I flew from Gatwick. Were they hav­ing a laugh?”

She said that, de­spite the vouch­ers, she would be re­luc­tant to fly with BA again.

A BA spokesper­son said: “We have apol­o­gised pro­fusely to Ms Pelta and of­fered her a dis­count on fu­ture travel. We are sorry that she did not get called ear­lier and are also very sorry for any dis­tress that has been caused.”

Though the air­line said it was “con­cerned” about “how this bag may have been dam­aged and drawn on”, it re­fused to com­ment fur­ther on any in­ter­nal in­quiry as to the cir­cum­stances.

Ms Pelta is fly­ing back to Florida next month. This time she is fly­ing Vir­gin.

PHOTO: JOHN RIFKIN

Emma Pelta at home in Loughton, Es­sex, with her daubed bag

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