However, her ordeal began even before boarding the plane.
Holly took to Instagram to recount her story, explaining that she had booked the two seats over the phone in advance and was instructed to proceed directly to the counter upon arrival at the airport.
Upon reaching Avalon, Holly followed the given instructions and settled at the gate, patiently waiting for boarding. Little did she know that she was about to face a distressing encounter. As a regular flyer with the airline, Holly anticipated having her carry-on bags weighed. Consequently, she had purchased an additional 7kg carry-on allowance to avoid any excess charges.
“I had my handbag, a small suitcase, and my CPAP machine for my sleep apnea, which is considered a medical device and is exempt from carry-on baggage restrictions,” Holly clarified, based on her prior experience. However, when two airline staff members approached to inspect her luggage, they displayed an unexpectedly rude demeanor, as if they were anticipating an altercation.
Holly’s bags were weighed, and she was informed that one exceeded the weight limit by 3kg. Additionally, she was instructed that she could only have two bags, despite her knowledge about the exemption for her CPAP machine.
Reluctantly, the businesswoman disclosed that she had purchased an extra seat. Holly reasoned, “Surely, being less than 2kg over the limit would be acceptable, considering that the extra seat comes with an additional 7kg carry-on allowance.” Expressing her discontent, she described the staff member as rude and unreasonable, requesting to speak to a manager.
Instead of addressing Holly’s concerns, the staff member accused her of rudeness and warned that the manager would convey the same message. Eventually, after leaving momentarily to find the manager, Holly burst into tears. A few minutes later, the manager arrived and instructed her to check a bag and pay for the excess weight allowance. However, the manager acknowledged that Holly could bring her CPAP machine on board.
Holly expressed her disappointment, stating, “No apology for providing incorrect information about the CPAP being considered a third piece of luggage was offered.” Despite feeling embarrassed to discuss it publicly in the crowded gate area, Holly informed the manager about the additional seat she had purchased, and it seemed that the situation had been resolved.
However, while waiting in the queue later on, Holly claims that the manager singled her out and reprimanded her for supposedly confusing the system by booking an extra seat and checking in online, despite her adherence to the airline’s instructions. Overwhelmed, Holly began to cry and stepped out of the line.
In conclusion, Holly’s Instagram post conveyed her frustration: “I was forced to wait in line and take my seat while very obviously crying. Being a larger person in this world is unbelievably terrifying, even at the best of times. I actively avoid public situations where my body might inconvenience others or draw unwanted comments. Despite taking all necessary measures to conform, I was repeatedly met with bad faith, rudeness, and disdain. I was not treated as a human being.”
Jetstar, the airline involved, responded to the incident and expressed regret over Holly Richards’ distressing experience. They emphasized their commitment to providing excellent customer service and treating everyone with respect. The airline stated that they are investigating the incident and exploring ways to improve their services. Furthermore, their customer team reached out to Holly Richards to apologize.