EasyJet Refuses To Allow Professor To Board With Vital Organ Container Because It Was Not In A 100 Milliliter Bottle

EasyJet is known as an airline that reduces travel to just above a cattle car. However, the airline reaches a new low recently when it refused to allow professor Martin Birchall of Bristol University to board a plane with a medical container because it was larger than the 100 milliliter limit for a liquid. Birchall showed the airline that it contained a specially treated trachea needed within hours in Barcelona or the vital organ (and months of work) would be lost. While he insisted that he had previously consulted with the airline, they insisted that they had no record of the request and that he would have to leave the organ behind. That is when a medical student stepped forward and saved the day.

The trachea was a medical breakthrough — seeded with 60 million stem cells from the woman in Barcelona. It had to be implanted within 16 hours or all would be lost. EasyJet could not be bothered with such concerns. It was still over 100 milliliter. Maybe if he could stuff it into a coke bottle? Even though supervisors were fully informed of the problem, they refused to allow the package onboard. It would seem an easy thing once you inspect the item, confirm the credentials of the professor, and x-ray the item. You could even place it in the cockpit. You could act like a human being.

That is when medical student (and part-time superhero) Philipp Jungerbluth told Birchall that he had a pilot friend in Germany with a small jet and arranged with his friend to fly the container to Spain at cost ($21,000). Birchall paid on the spot and the woman’s trachea was saved.

Here is the part I love. Not only is EasyJet standing by its decision but it refused to reimburse Birchall for his 70 pound ticket.

Source: NPR

35 thoughts on “EasyJet Refuses To Allow Professor To Board With Vital Organ Container Because It Was Not In A 100 Milliliter Bottle

  1. What are the odds that Prof. Birchall is now on a permanent “No FLY” list courtesy of SleezyAir?

  2. More than a few folks weren’t thinking. I’m with a commenter who suggests that it was crazy to book on a cheap flight who is subject to all kinds of delays when they are transporting such a valuable organ.

  3. Drones. I’m sure they said at some point “We can’t allow the organ on the flight because doing so poses a safety risk.”

    Better that the patient who was to receive the trachea died. Especially since the trachea would have otherwise blown up the aircraft.

    What ever happened to the days when a person could just say “I’m going to turn my back now, hopefully you won’t sneak past and board the plane, : WINK Hint, hint, nudge, nudge say-no-more.”

  4. Not crazy to book a fight when you clear it beforehand. the crazy part is the airline had no record of this conversation or clearance. This is the problem in most corporations. No one knows what anyone else is doing so you have to get clearance at each step. People complain about government agencies, but any company that grows too big has all the same problems with inefficiencies. Size matters, and in the case of businesses, smaller is better.

  5. There was an Irish budget mentioned on NPR the other night…Derry Air. Guess nobody tried calling them.

  6. Hi Jonathan..just FYI re what Easyjet has to say about this. This morning, I asked Easyjet “Did Easyjet really do this?” (with a link to your column) on their Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/easyJet), and they answered, “This unfortunate incident in 2008 occurred when the passenger was refused by Airport Security for carrying items that were prohibited. Sadly we don’t make these rules.”

  7. Hmm let’s see, lawsuit, lawyers, goodwill down the tubes, loss of future business. Sounds like Easy Jet will be losing More than the value of the $70 ticket. The collateral damage alone could do them in.

  8. Everyone complaining about EasyJet in your post, I believe your anger is misplaced in this instance. It was not “airline security” keeping him off the plane, it was airport security; government agents. It really doesn’t matter if he notified the airline–it is not up to them. The UK Dept. for Transport makes the rules, not the airline.

  9. Most of you miss the point, those people enjoyed doing what they did. I’ve seen this stuff far too often.

    Nothing makes some people feel better than making someone else miserable. So if you give them the power to make that happen, then they will use it.

    The ‘rules’ are just camouflage, because in reality there is always flexibility and discretion, they are just a way to exert power over others to their detriment and your pleasure.

    I’ll bet they had a good laugh down at the pub afterwards.

  10. As a few people have already said, transporting a vital organ across europe with a low cost airline?! Please. The airline “refused to board”? No, security at the airport would’ve refused the passenger. Bags aren’t searched when you board an aircraft, gate staff and crew don’t really give a damn what you’ve got in your bag unless it’s dangerous, and they wouldn’t have a clue what’s in your bag unless it said “biohazard” or some other dangerous goods label showing. “Airline security” doesn’t exist, airlines leave the security to airports to deal with passengers. If security arrest you for having a grenade in your bag that’s not the airline that has given the command.

    So much hate for the airline but if you had an idea of how things work behind the scenes and actually knew your stuff (which isn’t alot more than common sense at the end of the day) you’d understand. And the conspiracy theorists that think the airline is out to get them and people only do things to make your life difficult; please. Why would they piss off fare paying passengers, thus creating bad publicity, thus costing the company money?

    Ignorance is rife in here. Not everybody is out to make the world a terrible place.

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