A 60-year-old Slovakian woman was kicked off a plane traveling from Vienna to Abu Dhabi earlier this week for using the toilet reserved for business class travelers, according to reports. Erzurum Airport State Airport Night Manager Abubekir Özcan, speaking about the incident to the local press, said a passenger plane had made an emergency landing at the airport on Oct. 21.
Edita Kmetova from Slovakia was traveling to Abu Dhabi from Vienna with an Air Berlin flight when she got sick on the plane. When she saw that the toilet for the economy class passengers was in use, she decided to use the one reserved for business class passengers. According to her testimony, despite the objections voiced by business class passengers she entered it because it was an emergency. When she came out, she was confronted by the pilot, several stewardesses and business class passengers. An argument ensued and Kmetova was handcuffed and the plane requested to land in Ankara, and was directed to the Erzurum Airport.
Özcan, who was the manager on call at the time, entered the plane and approached Kmetova, who was crying. He asked for the handcuffs to be removed and took her, against whom the pilot filed a complaint, into custody. After mandatory questioning and checking her record, Kmetova was released because she had no criminal history. Özcan said he asked the pilot to allow the woman, who said she had no money, back onto the plane, but he refused and took off without her. Özcan and the rest of the staff arranged for the woman to stay at a hotel overnight before purchasing a ticket to Abu Dhabi for her.
After her return, Kmetova contacted Slovakian authorities and explained what had happened to her. The authorities, through their honorary council in Mersin, Emir Bozkaya, sent a letter of appreciation to Özcan.
Özcan, who shared his experience in a Facebook post, said many had contacted him to express their thanks. "I was very upset about what had happened to her. The business class toilet is used by a few people while the economy class serves almost 200. When she uses it, things get out of hand. The incident happened in Turkish airspace. When we were contacted, we thought something serious had happened. I was the first to enter the plane. When I approached her I saw an elderly woman crying. She was handcuffed. She was the only Slovakian on the plane. The rest were Austrians. I had her handcuffs removed and escorted her out of the plane."
He said after the plane left without allowing her back on, she was devastated. "She visited Antalya once before but she had no idea where Erzurum was. We arranged a hotel for her and bought her a ticket. The concierge told me that she sat at the hotel lobby until 3:00 a.m. and cried. Özcan said some Europeans see Turks as barbarians but at the end of the day, it was the Europeans who treated others poorly.