A 39-year-old knitting enthusiast from Rochford has been talking to Southend News Network about the ‘terrifying and humiliating experience’ that she suffered when she was forcibly removed from a flight at Southend Airport last week. According to her version of events, security staff questioned her about the contents of her suitcase, and around 30 minutes later officials escorted her off the plane that was due to fly to Gibraltar.
Marie Niddell said: ‘I was passing through security with my hand luggage, and when they checked inside my small case they saw that I was carrying 10 different types of wool. I explained that I am part of an international club called The Global Yarnbombers, and I then had to clarify that a ‘yarnbomber’ is someone who adds knitted art to public areas in a generally non-offensive and harmless manner. The official said he would speak to the pilot for guidance, but at the time I had no idea what this really meant. I took my bag and walked towards the departure lounge, and I noticed a frenzy of activity behind me.’
Mrs Niddell continued: ‘I boarded the plane as usual, and then two members of the MedAir cabin crew approached me with armed security guards. They informed me that the captain had taken the decision to offload me for security reasons, and when I argued my case they just said that I would need to write to the airline. One of the officers then got me in a headlock while the other one led me away back to the departure lounge and then out of the airport. I have never been so embarrassed in my entire life, and I will definitely think twice before booking a ticket with them again.’
In a statement, a MedAir spokesperson said: ‘On this occasion, the captain decided to have Mrs Niddell removed from the aircraft after another crew member informed him that she had described herself as a yarnbomber. At the time, he had no knowledge of what a ‘yarnbomber’ actually was, and so as a precaution he denied her a place on the flight. We would also like to point out that the captains iPhone had run out of battery, and this meant that he couldn’t access Google to look it up.’