30 Jan 2012 - Article No: 1481

The Rascist Plane Passenger and Air Hostess Story - Internet/Facebook Rumour

Filed under: General | Internet/Facebook Rumour

Did a rascist passenger really complain about being sat next to a black man resulting in the black man being upgraded to first class?


This happened on TAM airlines.

A 50-something year old white woman arrived at her seat and saw that the passenger next to her was a black man. Visibly furious, she called the air hostess.

"Whats the problem, ma?" the hostess asked her
"Cant you see?" the lady said - "I was given a seat next to a black man. I cant seat here next to him. You have to change my seat"

- "Please, calm down, ma" - said the hostess
"Unfortunately, all the seats are occupied, but I`m still going to check if we have any."
The hostess left and returned some minutes later.
"Madam, as I told you, there isn`t any empty seat in this class- economy class.
But I spoke to the captain and he confirmed that there isn`t any empty seats in the economy class. We only have seats in the first class."
And before the woman said anything, the hostess continued
"Look, it is unusual for our company to allow a passenger from the economy class change to the first class.
However, given the circumstances, the commandant thinks that it would be a scandal to make a passenger travel sat next to an unpleasant person."

And turning to the black man, the hostess said:

"Which means, Sir, if you would be so nice to pack your handbag, we have reserved you a seat in the first class..."
And all the passengers nearby, who were shocked to see the scene started applauding, some standing on their feet."
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On a British Airways flight from Johannesburg, a middle-aged, well-off white South African Lady has found herself sitting next to a black man. She called the cabin crew attendant over to complain about her seating.

"What seems to be the problem Madam?" asked the attendant.

"Can`t you see?" she said " You`ve sat me next to a kaffir. I can`t possibly sit next to this disgusting human. Find me another seat!"

"Please calm down Madam." the stewardess relied. "The flight is very full today, but I`ll tell you what I`ll do-I`ll go and check to see if we have any seats available in club or first class." The woman cocks a snooty look at the outraged black man beside her (not to mention many of the surrounding passengers). A few minutes later the stewardess returns with the good news, which she delivers to the lady, who cannot help but look at the people around her with a smug and self satisfied grin: "Madam, unfortunately, as I suspected, economy is full. I`ve spoken to the cabin services director, and club is also full. However, we do have one seat in first class." Before the lady has a chance to answer, the stewardess continues ... "It is most extraordinary to make this kind of upgrade, however, and I have had to get special permission from the captain. But, given the circumstances, the captain felt that it was outrageous that someone be forced to sit next to such an obnoxious person." With which, she turned to the black man sitting next to the woman, and said: "So if you`d like to get your things, sir, I have your seat ready for you..." At which point, apparently the surrounding passengers stood and gave a standing ovation while the black guy walks up to the front of the plane.

.. people will forget what you said .... .. people will forget what you did .... .. but people will never forget how you made them feel.


These stories, that tell the tale of a racist passenger complaining to the air hostess about being sat next to a black person have been circulating for over a decade. The story continues that the air hostess returns and claims it was unacceptable for anyone to be forced to sit next to such an obnoxious person, thus the black person is allowed to go to first class. The story also continues to assert that the surrounding passengers applauded the decision.

Whilst it is almost impossible to determine if a story like this has ever occurred, the fact that it has circulated prolifically for many years, in many different variants and attributing the story to many different dates, locations and airlines means that it is showing all the tell-tale signs of a classic urban legend. There are no verifiable stories of such an event happening, meaning the story is likely just a moral tale against rascism, as opposed to the recounting of an actual real event.





The Internet, and social networking sites like Facebook, are perfect platforms for spreading untruths, misinformation, rumor and propaganda. Thousands of inaccurate, exaggerated, deceptive or just plain false messages are circulated every single day.

For the anti-scam community to successfully tackle this plethora of false rumours, it is important that anyone who uses the Internet be able to identify false rumours and fully understands the possible consequences of spreading false information.

We have a two part blog post that helps provide this information. Part 1 deals with how to spot and debunk Internet rumours and Part 2 deals with the reasons why you should never circulate false information.

Additionally if you have fallen for this rumour or have Facebook friends that have, you can join our growing Facebook page here.

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