Female passenger removed from Flydubai flight, prompting outcry in Somaliland

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The unnamed woman was dragged from her seat and through the aisle after she swapped seats with an elderly woman

The incident which went viral and sparked an outrage since early Friday, partly because of the airline’s initial, unsatisfying attempts to justify what happened could pose challenges to Flydubai which operates four flights a week between Dubai and Hargeisa since March 2015.

By Jamal Ibrahim, jamal@alleastafrica.com

HARGEISA – Fly Dubai is facing backlash on social media after its airhostesses forcibly removed a female passenger from a seat on a UK-bound plane at the Hargeisa airport to clear a seat for someone else on early Friday.

Thousands of  people have since taken to the social media and called the actions by the airline ‘unusual’ and ‘upsetting’.

Witnesses said that the unnamed woman was dragged from her seat and through the aisle after she swapped seats with an elderly woman, an action dismissed by one airhostess who ordered her to remain on her window seat which she has reportedly protested as she was carrying a child with her.

One witness told a local radio station that the passenger in question has had a brief verbal dispute with a female airhostess on the Flight number FZ 662 from HGA to DXB before the situation turned hostile and she was ejected from the plane.

Flydubai plane parked at the Hargeisa airport

However, officials in Somaliland, a breakaway northern Somalia republic called the actions of the UAE-owned airline’s staff ‘disgusting ‘ and demanded an ‘immediate explanation’.

Nevertheless, Flydubai which issued a statement late on Friday attempted to provide context said that the passenger ‘did not accept the alternative seats offered by our trained cabin crew and subsequently did not continue her travel to Dubai’.

The airline has further stated it was currently investigating further with all parties involved.

Meanwhile, many Somalis are weighing in on social media about the incident and how the airline has handled the case.

The incident which went viral and sparked an outrage since early Friday, partly because of the airline’s initial, unsatisfying attempts to justify what happened could pose challenges to Flydubai which operates four flights a week between Dubai and Hargeisa since March 2015.

(Additional reporting and editing by Judy Maina in Nairobi, Kenya)

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