EasyJet wanted to eject customer off flight for snarky tweet

26 September 2013

easy jet-plane An EasyJet customer claims that the bargain airline threatened to stop him boarding a flight because he posted a pissy tweet about the company.

Mark Leiser, who teaches and studies internet law at Strathclyde University, got the hump about a delayed flight from Glasgow to London, which made him miss a connection.

Of course, the first thing he did was to go on a social network and moan about it. He also complained so the rest of his feed could see it, which is incredibly irritating. He said: "Flight delayed 90min. Soldier going to miss last connection & @easyjet refusing to help pay for him to get to Portsmouth. Get right into em!"

The back story is this - he was annoyed that a member of the armed forces, also waiting in departures, would miss his connection to Portsmouth where he was due to get on a ship.

Apparently, EasyJet officials spotted his tweet and tried to turn him away from the aeroplane but it was only when Leiser said he was a law expert that staff let him onboard. He later tweeted: "A manager from EasyJet just said I couldn't board the flight because I criticised @easyJet on Twitter before boarding."

Leiser told the Independent: "She [an EasyJet employee] implied that if EasyJet wasn't able to do anything for him if he might miss his boat, then they definitely weren’t going to do anything for me. It was at that point I sent the tweet. I wasn't concerned for me, but if this guy might miss his boat, which was potentially disembarking into a war zone, because he had relied on EasyJet then I thought I'd put pressure on them to do something about it."

After his complaint, Leiser said an EasyJet manager "pulled me out the line, which was embarrassing" and that "they were not going to let me get on this flight because of the tweet I sent. The manager then came over and told the woman to check if I had any bags on board. They asked to see the tweet and said to save it and that I was not to delete it. Then he said to me: ‘You should know better than to send tweets like that and think you can still get on the flight.’

“I said to him: ‘It wasn’t a threat, it was a criticism. It’s called free speech.’ He replied: ‘What are you, some kind of lawyer?’ And I said: ‘Well, yes, I am a law lecturer actually, and showed him my ID from university. He only really let me on the flight because I flashed my law lecturing ID and I don’t like doing that."

It's difficult to know which pain-in-the-arse to side with in this instance.

TOPICS:   Technology   Social Media   Travel   Complaints

9 comments

  • Michael
    So what exactly is the law on this? I know that if someone sends an angry tweet about a restaurant, the restaurant have the right to refuse serving that person if they choose to do so. All the article said was that the guy teaches law but it doesn't say whether the airline have the right to refuse to let him board. It might be bad PR for the airline but I'm curious if the airline can actually do that to customers?
  • Andy P.
    @Michael: For a flight, he has already paid for the service and thus exchanged some sort of contract. I think he should be able to claim some sort of compensation if they kicked him off for no good reason.
  • Grammar N.
    As he has already paid for his ticket the contract is concluded so they have to honour it. If the T&C's say something about giving them the right to refuse passengers who merely criticise them then this would be unenforceable as an unfair contract term. So no, they couldn't prevent him from boarding merely on the basis of criticism. The difference with the restaurant is that the contract has not been concluded when a person comes in for service, the restaurant can refuse to contract with anyone it wants for any reason it wants.
  • dvdj10
    The guy sounds like a twat but I don't believe the story anyway. How exactly did they "pull him out of the line" without knowing his name at that point so how did they trace the tweet back to him? Were the staff at the gate sat there refreshing the easyJet twitter account? Did Stelios pickup the orange batphone and ring the gate and say "Wow someone who's flight has just been delayed 90mins has called us names, stop him NOW!" All sounds like bullshit to me.
  • Warwick H.
    Easy Jet are a bunch of twats and the airline is crap - OK Ban me.
  • Gordon B.
    @dvdj10 - They managed to pull him out of line because he was kicking up a fuss that he was going to be late. He wasn't quietly tweeting, he was telling everyone in earshot that he was an influential blogger and he'd make life a misery for easyJet for not helping. They told him to stop his tantrum or they wouldn't let him on the plane. Hopefully he'll stick to his principles and never fly easyJet again. We'll see.
  • Noghar
    Yes, because to airlines all passengers are cattle and must be treated as such, and anyone who protests or grumbles about it is a troublemaker and must be bullied, harassed and if at all possible punished. In this case they picked on someone who could actually defend himself. Tough shit for them.
  • Shaqdhup D.
    "Get right into em!” could be construed as an incitement to use force against Easyjet staff. Maybe that is what they objected to.
  • The r.
    There is only one reasonable course of action to take with easyJet, just don't fly with them. Don't give them your money. They pay peanuts to their staff and get monkeys, do you really want to put your life in the hands of a company that makes that their operating model?

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