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easyJet Passenger Tasered on Plane Over Baggage Fee Incident

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Well, here’s a situation we didn’t cover in our recent Survival Guide to Low-Cost Carriers: According to this BBC report, a man on an easyJet flight from London-Gatwick (LGW) to Belfast (BFS) yesterday was tasered after an argument over luggage. And to think, TPG thought Ryanair was the worst airline in the world!

According to the report, witness statements, and tweets from other passengers, the Belfast man wanted to bring two pieces of hand luggage onboard, including what cheeky fellow passenger Niall Copeland called a “man purse.”

Things appear to have escalated quickly, police were called, the man was tasered and the other passengers were deplaned. Following the incident, the man was detained under the Mental Health Act and admitted to a psychiatric unit for assessment and treatment. The other passengers were allowed to re-board and the flight ended up taking off just about two-and-a-half hours late.

Carry On 1
Even if you’re just carrying on, you might still have to pay.

Like other low-cost carriers, easyJet is notorious for nickel-and-diming passengers with fees for everything from checked bags to printing tickets. People might miss the fine print in the airline’s cabin baggage policy, which states that while all passengers are allowed a single cabin bag, only those who purchase higher easyJet Plus, FLEXI, Upfront and Extra Legroom fares get an “additional small under-seat bag (for example, a handbag or laptop).”

Presumably, the man in question had only purchased a regular fare, but thought he could bring a “man purse” along with him. Personally, I don’t understand why an airline would charge extra for an under-seat bag rather than an overhead bag since that under-seat space is there regardless of whether or not a customer uses it — but apparently the cabin crew wasn’t budging on this one. This case also seems to have involved an element of air rage that puts a certain macadamia-nut incident to shame.

While most of us in the US are familiar with checked-bag fees, at least there are several airline credit cards you can carry to avoid them including the Gold Delta SkyMiles Amex, the Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select and the United MileagePlus Explorer.

When it comes to cabin luggage, though, we’re still relatively free to carry on, including an overhead bag (though it must adhere to sometimes strict dimensions), and a personal item to hold or stow under the seat in front of us. Some airlines here have started changing that, though, most notably Allegiant, Frontier and Spirit, all of which charge various fees for carry-on bags.

While fees like these can seem unfair (and convoluted), passengers are responsible for knowing the policies of the carriers they fly and the costs that can be incurred by flouting them.

So before your next flight, be sure to read the fine print — and check out our posts on baggage fees and how to avoid them:

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