An airport worker who is employed at a local ground handling agent apparently lost it and landed a punch into a passengers face during a conflict that likely arose while discussing the 11 hour delay of the EasyJet flight.
Both individuals were taken away by airport police but the passenger who was holding his baby at the time of the incident was let back on board when the flight finally took off, showing a mark on his face.
The employee involves is not working for EasyJet or their immediate ground handler in Nice, France but for the reason of it being one of their flights the name is now in the headlines (it should be, if not for the 11 hour delay).
You can access a CNN news piece here that reported about the matter.
Europe’s budget airline EasyJet flew into a storm Sunday after it emerged a member of the ground staff at Nice airport in France had punched one of its passengers in the face while he was holding a baby.
The victim was due to travel on EasyJet flight 2122 from Nice to Luton airport outside London on Saturday. The flight was delayed for a grueling 11 hours. EasyJet says the airport employee does not work for the airline.
“It was awful the whole thing. I just can’t believe people can behave like that,” said fellow passenger Arabella Arkwright, 49, who photographed the altercation.
She told CNN it was her husband who restrained the attacker while they waited for police to arrive. The man was taken away, infant in arms, but was later let back on the flight in time for its eventual takeoff. Arkwright said he had a mark from the punch on his face.
“We had a serious problem with someone of staff from our subcontractor Samsic,” Jean-François Guitard, a director at Nice airport told CNN.
Indeed there are so many employment layers nowadays at airports and airlines around the world, nobody can say with certainty anymore who works for whom.
In any case to start a physical fight with someone is wrong under any circumstances. It’s even less serious as the passenger was holding an infant.
… He said the passenger had complained about the EasyJet delay to a Samsic employee. Unable to answer the passenger’s questions, the employee suddenly lashed out with a punch.
Guitard said that the airport had been in contact with Samsic, which told them the employee had been suspended.
It appears that particular worker was not responsible for or involved into the EasyJet departure in any capacity but got approached by passengers (typical: ‘You wear a uniform, talk to me’ situation). Instead of walking away (maybe he tried, we don’t know any further details) he went ballistic and punched the man.
The passenger who took the candid photo of the scene was also on the flight (see her Twitter post here).
The ladies husband apparently (as per the CNN story) later held the attacker until police arrived.
A very messy situation and not very good PR for EasyJet who was quick to note that they have no connection to the employee who punched one of their passengers. Indeed the airline doesn’t have any responsibility for this but I would imagine that their handling of the 11 hour delay was also not the best such as keeping passengers informed, offering alternatives to travel or proper accommodation / food&beverage.
EasyJet is on the hook to pay each of the passengers a EU Compensation of 250 EUR as per EC261/2004. The passengers have to claim this cash compensation with EasyJet customer relations and be prepared to fight in order to get the airline to pay up as they are notorious for ignoring such requests.