UK & World News

  • 10 March 2013, 2:17

Virgin Apologises To Navy Engineer Over Uniform

Virgin Atlantic founder Sir Richard Branson has admitted cabin crew made a mistake by making a servicewoman change out of her uniform before flying - in case it offended other passengers.

Petty Officer Nicky Howse, a helicopter technician, was told she would not be allowed on the service from Heathrow to Los Angeles if she did not remove her combat fatigues, according to reports.

A security official and Virgin Atlantic staff incorrectly told the 32-year-old the company did not allow military personnel to fly in uniform.

Sir Richard tweeted: "An airport security guard made a dreadful mistake in telling our staff a service woman could not wear her uniform on our flight.

"Our team made a mistake in following that advice. The @VirginAtlantic people involved are mortified and have apologised profusely."

Petty Officer Howse, from Ipswich, Suffolk, described her "shame" at the experience in emails to a civilian friend, according to the Daily Mail.

She wrote: "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."

She was travelling back to her three-month deployment in the US after compassionate leave to attend her grandfather's funeral.

A statement from Virgin Atlantic said: "Virgin Atlantic does not have a policy which prevents passengers travelling in uniform and we are pleased to welcome any military personnel on board our flights in uniform.

"This was a completely isolated case in which our staff were incorrectly advised by a security agent that the passenger would have to remove her uniform.

"We have made contact with the passenger in question to express our deep regret for any upset caused."

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