Passengers on a recent EasyJet flight from London Gatwick Airport to Malaga in Spain protested to prevent two Black men from being removed from the flight.
The men were allegedly being removed for “huffing at a member of the crew” when asked to put shoes on prior to takeoff. Video of the incident was shared on Twitter by 28-year-old Luke Gayle, who was on board at the time. The video shows passengers on the flight telling the men to sit back down as flight crew tried to get them off the plane.
An argument started during the flight’s taxi at a London airport on Aug. 5 when witnesses said the flight crew overreacted after the men “huffed” when told to put on their shoes because they were sitting near an emergency exit. The plane turned around on the runway and a woman flight attendant called police, saying there where two “disobedient passengers” on the aircraft. In response, four armed Sussex officers arrived, offboarded the men’s luggage and confiscated their passports. Passengers objected to the removal of the two men.
Gayle told the Daily Mail about the officers, “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.’”
A Black man sat down and a flight attendant walked away from him.
The men were permitted to stay on the plane and the captain announced that another flight crew would be replacing the one that was on aboard the aircraft.
“My faith was then restored in humanity, as the whole flight said it was unacceptable” Gayle said.
EasyJet said the crew was replaced because they had exceeded their working hours, not because of the encounter with the two men. The flight took off toward Spain three hours after its scheduled departure time.
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