EasyJet apologises after pilot orders man with chronic asthma to wear face mask

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EasyJet has apologised to a passenger who was instructed to wear a face mask on a flight – despite it affecting his breathing.

Face coverings on public transport are mandatory in the UK during the coronavirus pandemic and easyJet requires all passengers to wear a face mask on board their flights from any destination.

But government guidelines say some people are exempt due to age, health or disability reasons.

Nick, who did not want to give his last name, told the BBC he finds it increasingly difficult to breathe with face coverings due to his chronic asthma.

He showed crew members a medical exemption card but still had to wear the covering.

The passenger filmed the moment his pleas were ignored on his journey from Jersey – which also allows exemptions – to Gatwick.

“I have explained the legal position,” he tells a pilot. “I have provided you with a document from a government website.

“I have shown you proof of my medication.”

The crew member then interrupts to say: “You have given me a piece of paper with something.”

After pointing out the government guidelines, the easyJet pilot adds: “Last chance.

“You have two seconds to grab this and put it on or otherwise you are off.”

After Nick again explains the “legal position”, the pilot responds: “One, two, you’re off.”

Cheers erupt from those in the cabin. Nick eventually agreed to wear a face mask because he “had no choice”, but ended up hyperventilating throughout the hour-long flight.

Nick had printed off an official exemption card from the government’s website before flying out to Jersey to see his family in August.

It was accepted on the flight out but he was then told it was invalid on the return journey.

EasyJet said in a statement to the BBC that all customers are required to wear a face-covering but their policies have recently been updated.

A statement from the airline said: "We have recently updated our policies in line with recent UK government guidance so that as well as a medical certificate, customers can alternatively provide a relevant document from a government website or lanyard.

"We are sorry that this new policy was not recognised by the crew on this occasion."

  • BBC
  • Easyjet
  • Gatwick
  • Family
  • Face Masks

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