British Airways is getting a taste of what it feels like to parent a teen who has a strong sense of entitlement. “Game of Thrones" star Maisie Williams, 17, who plays the orphaned, hard-scrabble character Arya Stark wielded the Twitter blade after being denied entrance to the British Airways business class lounge because of her age.
"Denied from the business lounge once again for being under 18 and without an adult... @British_Airways sort your [expletive] out," Ms. Williams posted on her Twitter account @Maisie_Williams on Sunday, July 20.
It’s a little difficult to keep a straight face seeing the teen who has become known for her portrayal of such a resilient character pitch a social media fit over not getting into the comfy lounge after a first-class flight.
That’s disappointing because, frankly, Williams has a lot of power, as evidenced by how much attention this story is getting today.
I wonder if, during all those hours on planes and in airports, the actress caught any news broadcasts about an airliner shot down in Ukraine, children dying in Gaza, and thousands of unescorted children fleeing crisis in Central America to cross the Mexican border into the US.
Instead of using her star power to highlight any one of those issues, the 17-year-old tweeted about the harrowing experience of being denied entrance to a lounge in the UK where the drinking age is 18. If she were in most US cities the age and lounge entry limit would have been 21 unless accompanied by an adult.
"I'm not saying I deserve special treatment" she tweeted. "Why can we travel alone but not use the lounge? It makes no sense.”
I wish I could introduce Ms. Williams to a fellow British Airways frequent flier, Jay Fields of Hailsham, East Sussex in England, age 20.
Mr. Field came over to America in July in order to spend two months getting hours logged as a small craft pilot in order to improve his instrument rating.
Currently Field, a family friend, can fly a small plane during daylight hours when he can see where he’s going. When he has enough hours logged he can then fly on instruments at night, as well.
He arrived here in Norfolk, Virginia after piloting his small plane to Atlanta, Georgia and then to our area.
The night he arrived, I had just given my first TED Talk and speakers were invited to take a tour of a local micro brewery which was the subject of one of the talks.
Too late we realized that while Field is older than our eldest son Zoltan, age 20, his 21st birthday is still a few months away. When we arrived, he pointed out he was under drinking age and we quickly left the party.
“It’s perfectly fine,” Jay said as we left the event. “I understand that’s the law here in America.”
I was impressed by his responsible act because he can legally drink at home in England.
Today, Jay explained via Facebook chat that while he too would have been a bit irked if he’d bought a pricey first-class ticket and been turned away from the airport lounge – which is a perk – he recognizes Williams was in a very unique position.
“I think it was because she wasn’t with a guardian, because the rules are a bit different if you are traveling by yourself, under 18,” Jay explained. “The airline basically acts as a guardian for you, for that time.”
So the airline, whether they realized it at the time or not, was in a way parenting Williams.
The airline apologized for the upset, but explained that the lounge guests must be 18 years old and above, due to the self-service open bar available there.
This story is a great example for teens to recognize that pitching a fit is not the way to demonstrate that you’re mature enough to be left to your own devices.
The ability to travel far unchaperoned and the means to purchase a better ticket are not in themselves proof of maturity or good judgment.
Williams made a mistake that’s becoming common to adults and kids alike, Because many of us are busily broadcasting our discontent, we often can’t see the forest through the tweets.