Passengers onboard the easyJet flight tried to stop two black men who “huffed” after being told to put their shoes on from being kicked off the plane.
Passengers explained the crew overreacted after the two men just “huffed” when they were told to put their shoes on for take-off.
The flight to Malaga, which was taxing and about to take off, was forced to return to the gate where the cabin crew had to be replaced.
At the gate, armed police were called to intervene and deal with the “unruly passengers.”
A flight attendant told the police there were two “disobedient passengers” on board.
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In the end, the two men stayed on the flight, along with the rest of the passengers.
Due to the issue, the flight to Malaga was three hours delayed.
Some passengers questioned whether the crew were conditioned by the men’s race, to what easyJet replied discrimination played no part in the crew’s actions.
A passenger explained: “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. 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.”
The airline said: “EasyJet 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 onboard. The primary responsibility of our crew is for the safety of everyone onboard.
“An issue arose onboard 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 onboard. 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.”
Onboard a plane, passengers have to wear their shoes for take-off and landing when seated by the emergency exits.
This is because, in case of an emergency, objects on the floor could be an obstacle when evacuating.
Also, passengers seated by the exits have to be ready to evacuate first and don’t lose any time collecting their belongings.