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Ipswich: MP to talk to airline bosses after Royal Navy engineer told her military uniform is offensive

PUBLISHED: 09:09 11 March 2013 | UPDATED: 09:09 11 March 2013

A SUFFOLK MP has pledged to talk with Virgin Atlantic bosses after an Ipswich Royal Navy engineer was told she could not wear her uniform on a transatlantic flight – because it could be offensive to other passengers.

Nicky Howse, who is believed to be from Purdis Farm, was taken aside by a G4S security guard and airline staff last Monday as she was preparing to travel back to America where she is on a three-month deployment.

The 32-year-old helicopter technician was told it was company policy not to allow military personnel to wear combat fatigues and she would have to wear a sleep suit.

Petty Officer Howse, who is now in America, was reported in a national newspaper as being shocked by the order.

Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey said she will take up her case.

She added: “It seems very odd.

“I need to contact Nicky Howse directly but I will be taking up the issue because I don’t think it is very good for Virgin Atlantic.”

In an email to a friend, Petty Officer Howse, who has served in the Royal Navy for 15 years including time in Afghanistan, said the incident had left her feeling gobsmacked, distressed and horrified.

The staff involved in the debacle have been heavily criticised by leading military chiefs and the owner of Virgin, Sir Richard Branson, has apologised for the incident on Twitter.

He said: “An airport security guard made a dreadful mistake in telling our staff a service woman could not wear her uniform on our flight.

“Our team made a mistake in following that advice.

“The @VirginAtlantic people involved are mortified and have apologised profusely.”


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