Some 180 passengers on an EasyJet flight bound for France from Spain were forcibly removed from the plane by Spanish police last week, in an incident that has led some to accuse the British budget airline of discrimination.
Last Sunday, EasyJet flight EZY3920 from Barcelona to Paris was diverted to the gate just minutes ahead of the scheduled takeoff. Confused passengers were then ejected from the plane by Spanish police, who reportedly interrogated several people removed from the flight.
Some passengers who were brought in for interrogation claim local police behaved aggressively towards the group, treating them like “terrorists.”
Most of the passengers on the flight were French Jews returning home to Paris after spending the Passover holiday in Spain.
A number of passengers allege that the incident was anti-Semitic in nature, and that they were singled out because of their Jewish background, noting that many of the male passengers were wearing kippot.
The airline, however, has denied that anti-Semitism was a factor.
EasyJet spokesman Andy Cockburn told JTA that the flight was brought back to the gate because of “a group of passengers behaving in a disruptive manner.”
“All passengers were asked to disembark at the request of the police so they could speak to a small number of passengers in order to investigate the incident.”
When asked whether any of the passengers had actually been charged with disrupting the flight, the EasyJet representative said he was unable to respond to the question at this time.