EasyJet is at the centre of fierce criticism after The Drum’s tech law columnist Mark Leiser tweeted that an easyJet manager had stopped him boarding a flight because he’d criticised the airline on Twitter.
Leiser, who also edits The Firm magazine and is based in Scotland, was booked on the 9.20pm flight from Glasgow to London but it was hit by delays. He tweeted late on Tuesday night that delays had prevented a serving soldier - who was on route to take part in active service - making an essential travel connection and easyJet had refused to help pay to get him to his destination.
A short time later, he tweeted that he’d then been told by a manager that he couldn’t board a flight because: “You’re a lawyer. You know you can’t tweet stuff like that and expect to get on an easyJet flight.”
“I put out a tweet about it and then when I got in the queue, and a member of staff approached me and asked if she could have a quick word," Leiser explained. "She said she understood I’d said something on social media about easyJet and then told me they were not allowing me to board the flight.
“I said you’re kidding me; I asked where that had come from and she told me I should know I’m not allowed to do that. I was stunned. I told her I didn’t really understand what she was telling me and she said: ‘You’re not allowed to talk about easyJet like that and then expect to get on a flight’.”
“She then asked me to step out of the queue and repeated that she was not letting me on the flight. I told her she’d better get somebody down to discuss this and she told me the manager was on his way to speak to me. Then she told said she couldn’t believe I thought what I’d done was appropriate. I was just sitting there in disbelief.
“So the the manager arrived and told me that based on my tweet they couldn’t let me board the flight because I wasn’t allowed to do that and I should know better. He then called over to the girl on the counter to instruct my bags be taken off the flight. It wasn’t until I asked him if he’d heard of free speech that the tone changed. He asked me if I was a lawyer and I told him I taught law at Strathclyde.
"He quickly had a word with his staff and then told me I’d better get on the flight because they were waiting for me. If I hadn’t had my ID badge I don’t think he’d have let me on the flight."
The news quickly spread on Twitter with Leiser’s tweet being retweeted 481 times.
A spokeswoman for easyJet denied that the airline would deny boarding based on social media criticism but said the company could not discuss an individual customer's case.
"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," she said. However, the airline did respond to Leiser via a tweet to apologise.