Photo Credit: Srinrat Wuttichaikitcharoen / EyeEm
Qatar Airways Under Fire For Forcing Female Passenger To Gynecological Search
A British female passenger had her flight interrupted last fall for what she calls a traumatic encounter. Qatar Airways pulled the woman— Mandy— off the departing flight after airport officials found an abandoned newborn baby in an airport bathroom and began searching for the mother.
Mandy and several other women were removed from their seats to be inspected in an ambulance. Qatar’s armed forces made her undergo a vaginal exam to determine if she had given birth to a child.
“I’m just an ordinary person, and it’s happened to me,” Mandy told Business Insider. “I want to stand up and have a voice about this because it cannot happen to anybody else in any other airport.”
The newborn’s mother was identified in November, and there haven’t been any updates on the baby’s current status. However, Mandy is looking to sue Qatar Airlines for what she went through, as well as several other female passengers.
“I was approached, which was quite intimidating. It felt quite threatening at that point. I was approached by what I believed to be a female Qatari police officer who sort of picked me and two or three other women, and [we] were demanded to follow her.”
Being in a foreign country and escorted off your flight by local officials is intimidating, to say the least, especially considering language barriers and different regulated laws. Qatar’s government acknowledged that their law enforcers were going about the airport searches in invasive ways, and have since apologized.
However, an apology is not enough to stop Mandy from seeking justice. Her lawyer, Damian Sturzaker revealed that at least 8 more flights were examined by local officials to see if female passengers were related to the missing baby. Thus, emphasizing the likely fact that other women may have been sent to an ambulance on the tarmac runway to be checked like Mandy.
The institutions being held responsible for the invasive searches are Doha’s Hamad International Airport, the Qatar Civil Aviation Authority, and Qatar Airways.