Passengers on European airline easyJet staged a mutiny after armed police tried to evict two black men off a flight to Malaga.
Travellers forced the airline to replace its cabin crew when the police turned up following an altercation on the way to the runway.
The men reportedly “huffed” after being told to put their shoes on for take-off as they were sitting in an emergency exit row, The Sun reports.
But holiday-makers on the flight from London’s Gatwick Airport on Thursday said the easyJet crew overreacted when they brought in four armed officers to kick them off the plane.
They not only had their luggage taken off the aircraft, but they even confiscated their passports for being “disobedient”.
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EasyJet tried allegedly to evict two black men off a flight to Malaga after a row over shoes. Picture: TwitterSource:Supplied
Fellow passengers quickly defended the duo, telling them “no, don’t get off” and “sit down”.
The captain then announced the flight’s crew would be replaced before heading to the Spanish holiday hotspot.
Both men, along with a third passenger, eventually made it to Malaga after taking off three hours later than the scheduled departure time.
Some passengers think the easyJet crew reacted the way they did because of the men’s race.
An easyJet spokesperson said it “does not discriminate against any individual. Safety is our highest priority and there is nothing to suggest that discrimination played any part in the issue on-board”.
With regards to replacing the crew, they said that when a flight is delayed like this one “[the] crew are replaced to ensure that they do not exceed their maximum legal operating hours over the course of the day”.
Passengers on the plane staged a mutiny over the ‘over-reaction’. Picture: TwitterSource:Supplied
Luke Gayle, who was sitting three rows in front of the men, told the Dail Mail: “They huffed, but that was it.
“We were left waiting for two to three hours with no update — it was absolutely disgraceful.
“I am a racial justice ambassador and I kind of know how unconscious racial bias works.
“Obviously it’s very difficult in these situations to say it was a racial issue, it’s difficult to prove that, however, was there some kind of unconscious bias there?
“Because it seems so dramatic to call the police and have a plane with 160-odd passengers turn around and be delayed for someone huffing at them.
“I mean surely as cabin crew you are trained on how to deal with those situations effectively.
“Everyone else on the plane was white from what I can remember, and they were the only three black passengers.”
The men were escorted off by easyJet staff and had their luggage removed. Picture: TwitterSource:Supplied
Passengers told the men not to get off the flight. Picture: TwitterSource:Supplied
The 28-year-old added: “When four armed police officers came on the plane it was quite scary to see. We thought there was someone wanted on the plane.
“They said they were there to prevent a breach of the peace and escort two men off the plane, but as soon as the man was asked to leave he attempted to and everyone said ‘no sit back down again’.
“My faith was then restored in humanity as the whole flight said it was unacceptable.”
Another passenger on board described the row, which came “out of thin air” as “totally unjustified”, while describing the two men as “nice, polite guys”.
An easyJet spokesperson said feedback from customers on-board was being taken “seriously” and the incident will be reviewed internally as “the safety and wellbeing of our customers and crew is our highest priority”.
Police were eventually called on to the flight. Picture: Luke GayleSource:Supplied
A shot of the men’s luggage being removed from the plane after being evicted from the Malaga flight. Picture: Luke GayleSource:Supplied
They added: “The primary responsibility of our crew is for the safety of everyone on-board.
“An issue arose on-board the flight during taxi, the aircraft returned to stand and was met by airport police to resolve the issue before safely departing with all passengers on-board.
“Our crew must ensure that safety requirements are followed by all passengers and as part of their role must check prior to take-off that everyone is compliant with these.
“This is particularly important for passengers seated in emergency exits rows where crew ensure there are no loose items during take-off.”
A spokesperson for Sussex Police said: “Sussex Police responded to a call about passengers on board a flight leaving Gatwick Airport on Thursday (August 5) at 9.35am.
“Officers boarded the aircraft to prevent a breach of the peace. The matter was resolved and dealt with by the flight operator.”
This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission
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