‘We got into despair,’ says passenger who broke Gol’s booths in Guarulhos

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‘We got into despair,’ says passenger who broke Gol’s booths in Guarulhos

“We got into despair,” says consultant Alexandre Lopes, 47, from Minas Gerais. He and his wife, Kênia, 39, are in a video that went viral on social media last holiday. In the scenes recorded by cell phone, the couple appears breaking Gol’s booths at the airport in Guarulhos (SP) after a problem on the flight that would take them to Belo Horizonte along with their son, who is five months old.

The couple, who live in Contagem (in Greater Belo Horizonte), told the sheet that the problem started with the cancellation of the flight to Confins, due to a heavy rain that hit the capital of Minas Gerais last Monday (1st).

They had boarded at the airport in Navegantes (SC) at 3:05 pm and arrived in Guarulhos at 4:55 pm to make a stopover. The flight to Confins left at 18:55, on schedule.

The trip, however, was hampered by bad weather on arrival in Belo Horizonte. Alexandre says that the plane flew over Confins airport for about half an hour, until passengers learned that they would have to return to Guarulhos.

They also said that they spent more than three hours on the plane, awaiting instructions from the company. During this period, they did not even receive food, says Lopes.

“The first bulletin, around 7:30 pm, said that visibility was low and that we needed to wait for further information. When the commander gave the second bulletin, around 8:00 pm, he informed everyone that the airport was not scheduled to open, but that the crew would have to be changed for having missed the flight deadline.”

With the baby crying, with no more milk or diapers for the child in the hand luggage, the couple claims to have gone into despair. They even asked the commander of the aircraft to be released, but, according to them, the departure was only allowed after passengers threatened to call the police.

After more than seven hours of delay, in the middle of the night, the family says that they were furious with what they considered to have been negligence on the part of the company, the lack of information and the delay in accommodating passengers in a hotel.

“There were people without masks, children scattered on the floor, elderly people without the comfort they needed. A doctor who was on the flight attended to a passenger who was feeling sick. When we disembarked, the first thing I did was look for the police,” says Lopes.

The images, which were reproduced on social networks, show when Kênia, screaming, demands that the company provide a hotel for the family. She starts slapping the window’s protection board.

“The attendant tried for 45 minutes to put me in a hotel and reschedule a flight and she couldn’t. She called the supervisor, who also couldn’t and they went into the management room. Another passenger offered her baby a diaper so that we could change the our.”

Annoyed and without concrete answers from the company’s employees, Kênia started punching and slapping harder on one of the acrylic protections at the company’s check-in counter, demanding that employees resolve the situation.

In desperation, she screams that she’s going to call the police and starts hitting the protection plate harder. “He’s only five months old, it’s not his fault,” he said, pointing to his son.

“Solve it! My boy won’t pay for this. I want someone to sort it out here now,” said Lopes, already holding one of the pedestals used to organize queues of passengers.

In the images, the husband then runs back and uses the pedestal to knock over the acrylic sheets from the company counter, also breaking a printer. The couple said they will have to pay R$5,000 for the damages.

“At that time, I didn’t see my son, I thought he had died. My wife didn’t have him in her arms, because another passenger took the baby when she cut herself when she hit the acrylic plate.”

The consultant recognizes that he crossed the line by breaking the windows, but that this served to solve the problem. “It was an unfortunate attitude, but the Military Police arrived and the airline finally returned our bags. Around 1 am, eight police officers came to take me to the police station for having broken the windows,” says the consultant.

According to Lopes, after the confusion, the family and other passengers were accommodated in a hotel an hour and a half away from the airport and were able to board for Belo Horizonte the next day.

“We arrived at the hotel at 7 am, but we couldn’t sleep. The taxi came back to pick us up, so we could catch a new Gol flight.”

He also reports that the family was prevented by employees from taking another Gol flight. “When it was time to board, four employees came to take us out of the lobby, saying we were not welcome on a Gol aircraft. They treated us like terrorists. We took a flight 30 minutes later, from another company.”

During the confusion, Kenya even shouted to the company attendants that it had taken her 16 years to get pregnant with her son. “I spent R$50,000. If this boy gets sick, I swear I’ll kill one by one.” Alexander says he understands his wife’s wrath, for having gone through many hardships until they managed to become David’s parents.

The family says they will pay for the company and airport damages, after having destroyed the objects, but that they intend to sue Gol.

“We’ll take it to court. When they said we weren’t welcome on the other flight, they hurt us. They didn’t have adequate structure or systems in operation. They put my boy’s life at risk and humiliated us the next day.” says Lopes.

In a statement, Gol informed that, after taking off on Monday night (1st), the flight – G3 1324 (Guarulhos – Confins) had to return to Guarulhos airport due to adverse weather conditions in Confins.

“The Company emphasizes that it offered the necessary support to all customers with food and accommodation in hotels in the metropolitan region of São Paulo, where rooms were available to travel on flights scheduled for Tuesday (2).”

According to the company, some Customers, for security reasons, took flights from other companies to Confins. “Gol reinforces that all procedures adopted from the need to return to the base in Guarulhos were carried out with a focus on safety, a number one value.”

CONSUMER RIGHTS

“I understand the parents’ situation, but violence is not a solution. Employees are only bearers of bad news”, says Maria Inês Dolci, a lawyer specializing in consumer protection and a columnist for the sheet.

She reinforces that the company is partly to blame. “Companies end up taking the situation to the limit, despite knowing that there will be a delay. Now, even if employees are carriers of bad news, they need to treat the passenger properly and contain a situation that could become violent.”

She adds that the consumer needs to remain calm and complain to Anac at airports. Many terminals have civil courts and it is also necessary to use the companies’ service channels. Afterwards, it must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, whether the passenger has suffered any damage.

“The couple’s reaction was disproportionate, but sometimes it’s like a pressure cooker. They say they spent hours on a plane with a small child, it’s an extreme situation,” says Renata Abalém, president of the Law Commission of the OAB Consumer – Goiás.

“The neglect of airlines, with employees who don’t even look the consumer in the eye, is a factor that ends up increasing the anguish.”

In cases of delayed or canceled flights, ANAC (National Civil Aviation Agency) obliges the airline, even when it is not responsible for the incident, to provide communication (access to the internet and telephone) from one hour onwards.

When the delay exceeds two hours, companies are obliged to offer food; after four hours, the passenger is entitled to receive accommodation or lodging.

To reduce the discomfort of passengers waiting for the flight, Anac also requires the company to keep the passenger informed every 30 minutes about the expected departure of delayed flights and immediately inform the occurrence of the delay.

“On international flights, material assistance is not due when the problem occurs due to closure of borders or airports as determined by authorities. In any other situation, regardless of the reason, assistance must be offered and applies both to passengers waiting at the airport. terminal as to those on board the aircraft,” says Anac.

In the case of international flights, assistance rules are relaxed until March 31, due to the pandemic.

Details about passenger rights can be accessed on the agency’s page.

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