EasyJet has long been notorious for the level of service and comfort of a cattle car. However, the cattle were at least allowed to get on the plane and occasionally “moo”. Mark Leiser, who lectures at Strathclyde University, says that he was pulled out of line on his delayed flight and told that he could not board the plane. The reason? Lesier had tweeted criticism of the airline, which one would think the no-frills company would be rather used to. Apparently not. He says that he was only allowed on the plane after the airline employees discovered that he is a lawyer.
I thought only life-saving organs were barred from flights but free speech also appears on EasyJet’s no fly list.
Leiser was supposed to board the flight an hour earlier from Glasgow to London and was concerned about his connector. He told to an EasyJet employee about his connector. He says that an employee told him that it was not their problem and “EasyJet was a point to point destination carrier.” (Actually, EasyJet is barely a human carrier by any civilized definition but we will let that pass).
He said a military member was left without a connection to Portsmouth and also shown little sympathy.
Leiser then sent the tweets.
The first tweet 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 second tweet said “Manager came down to inquire why I was tweeting about @easyJet. Staff member said I cant tweet stuff like that. Asked me to save the tweet.”
The third tweet said “Manager from easyjet just said I couldnt board flight because I criticised @easyJet on twitter before boarding the flight.”
He was pulled out of line and he said that he was told 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.” He said that after objecting, he was asked if he was a lawyer and later allowed to board after showing that he was a lawyer.
If true, it is an extraordinary abuse not only of a customer but of free speech. It appears that in addition to the lowest possible level of service, EasyJet feels that it can impose an authoritarian control over any complaints about the level of service. EasyJet should probably change its slogan to “Come on,
let’s [Shut Up and] fly!” It is like the airline Josef Stalin always wanted.
EasyJet released the following statement: “EasyJet has never denied boarding due to comments on social media. On the rare occasion that we consider denying boarding it is on the basis of disruptive behaviour.” That sounds a lot like saying that Leiser is a liar and made this up in his series of tweets sent during this confrontation. You can decide who is more credible.
Leiser is a PhD Candidate in Cyber Law at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow and lectures on Internet Law (LLB) and the Law of Business Associations. My favorite part of his resume is that he tutors on “Voluntary Obligations.” I know an airline that might need a lecture on that very question.