Actress ELIZABETH HURLEY suffered the indignity of being downgraded to business class on a BRITISH AIRWAYS (BA) flight yesterday (13NOV03) - but she managed to avoid causing a scene.

The AUSTIN POWERS star - who was travelling with her one-year-old son DAMIEN - was told she wouldn't be able to travel first class when she arrived at London's GATWICK AIRPORT to catch the plane to the Caribbean island of Barbados.

Liz, 37, was one of four passengers who had forked out $10,235 (GBP6,397) for a luxury seat only to be transferred to $5,490 (GBP3,430) business class - because there weren't enough staff to man the exclusive section.

The incident isn't the first time Hurley has experienced boarding problems with the British airline - in April and May this year (03) she became embroiled in arguments with staff after demanding her millionaire boyfriend Arun Nayar was upgraded to first class.

An insider says, "Liz's jaw dropped when she was told she wouldn't be travelling in the best BA cabin. But she handled it pretty well.

"There was not much she could say because of two unsavoury incidents when she travelled with British Airways this year (03).

"Despite her celebrity stardom she can't expect special treatment flying with them. Three other first class passengers had to move seats as well."

14/11/2003 13:54