Mark Leiser wasn’t tweeting about a bomb, nor was he suggesting any other violent act to commit aboard a plane. All Leiser did was tweet that a flight delay was going to prevent a soldier from getting where he needed to be, and that was enough for an airline to stop him from boarding the flight.
The tech law columnist for The Drum and professor sent out this tweet about a 90 minute flight delay on September 24:
Flight delayed 90min. Soldier going to miss last connection & @easyjet refusing to help pay for him to get to Portsmouth. Get right into em!
— Mark Leiser (@mleiser) September 24, 2013
Shortly after, Leiser sent a tweet explaining that a manager had informed him he wouldn’t be allowed to board the flight.
“You’re a lawyer,” The Drum reports the manager said to Leiser. “You know you can’t tweet stuff like that and expect to get on an easyJet flight.”
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Leister says he was asked to step out of the line by a staff member, who informed him he couldn’t say negative things about easyJet on social media and then expect to board the flight. At Leiser’s request, a manager came to reinforce the staff member’s message, telling Leiser he should “know better.” But when he asked the manager if he’d heard of free speech, Leiser says the manager changed his tone. The manager asked if Leiser was a lawyer, and Leiser said he taught law school.
“He quickly had a word with his staff and then told me I’d better get on the flight because they were waiting for me,” Leiser told The Drum. “If I hadn’t had my ID badge I don’t think he’d have let me on the flight.”
As Leiser tweeted out his saga with easyJet, he got a reply from the company’s main social media account:
@mleiser ... twitter. Please send us a DM so that we can sort this out for you. Best regards, NK
— easyJet (@easyJet) September 25, 2013
As Geek.com reports, it wouldn’t be hard for easyJet to figure out what Leiser looks like, since he’s got a public online presence and unprotected Twitter account. As for why an airline would be monitoring so closely what the average person is saying about it, that remains a bit of a mystery.
Leiser did eventually get on the flight, although there was no mention as to whether the soldier did get some help to get where he was going.
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