A web-law tutor says EasyJet threatened to stop him boarding a flight because he posted a tweet criticising the bargain-basement airline.
Mark Leiser, who teaches and studies internet law at Strathclyde University, was grumpy about a delayed flight from Glasgow to London, which made him miss a connection to the centre of the capital.
Like a true modern traveller, the PhD student first moaned to the airline's staff then fired up Twitter to tell the world about his misfortune. He said he was particularly upset that a member of Her Majesty's armed forces, who was also waiting in the departure lounge for the late flight, would miss his connection to Portsmouth where he was due to get on a ship.
Leiser sent the following tweet:
Flight delayed 90min. Soldier going to miss last connection & @easyjet refusing to help pay for him to get to Portsmouth. Get right into em!— Mark Leiser (@mleiser) September 24, 2013
— Mark Leiser (@mleiser) September 24, 2013
EasyJet officials spotted his tweet and tried to turn him away from the aeroplane, it is claimed. Leiser said it was only when he proved he was a law expert that staff relented and let him onboard.
Leiser tweeted: "A manager from EasyJet just said I couldn't board the flight because I criticised @easyJet on Twitter before boarding." He said his Twitter outburst was provoked by the orange-flushed budget airline's refusal to help the Portsmouth-bound bloke.
The legal egghead 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 tweeting the complaint, Leiser said an EasyJet manager "pulled me out the line, which was embarrassing". He said "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.“
In a statement, the airline said: “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.” ®