Virgin Blue Flight Attendant Puts Baby in Overhead Compartment


An Australian mother said her baby is suffering from anxiety after a flight attendant put him in an overhead compartment and closed the door.

According to a report in Sydney's Sunday Herald Sun, Natalie Williamson was traveling with her then-17-month-old son and her now-estranged husband three months ago on a Virgin Blue flight when the flight attendant put the boy in the compartment. 

"My husband, Shayne, was standing one meter behind my son, Riley, when the air steward picked him up and placed him in the overhead compartment," she told the newspaper. "I stood up and there were people laughing and then I said 'Get my son out of there now.'"

Virgin Blue, part of Virgin Airways, admits the incident happened, But it has a slightly different story. It says Williamson's husband was playing a peek-a-boo game with Riley involving the overhead compartment when the flight attendant joined in.

"We conducted a thorough investigation of the incident and the staff member involved was subsequently terminated. The safety of our guests is our top priority and we do not tolerate any breaches of this," a Virgin spokeswoman said.

Williamson said her boy was locked in the compartment for up to 10 seconds in complete darkness. She said she has taken him to various doctors over the past few months, who have diagnosed him with anxiety and withdrawal.

"He won't leave my sight now. He sleeps with me. If I'm not in the same room as him, he will scream and yell 'Mum, mum, mum,'" she said.

Virgin gave Williamson a refund for her tickets, as well as offered her three free flights, but she said she is too shaken to redeem them.

"I was devastated. I was absolutely devastated," she said. "For days on end I was crying."


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