Bystanders caught the heated altercation on camera.
On Sunday, EasyJet became the latest airline to step into the media fray after a photo was shared to social media allegedly showing an airport employee punching a passenger who was holding a baby.
As CNN reported, the victim of the incident was scheduled to depart from Nice, France on Saturday. However, following an 11-hour delay, it appears emotions boiled over and lead to the altercation with the employee, who was contracted through the airport, not through EasyJet.
"It was awful the whole thing. I just can't believe people can behave like that," Arabella Arkwright, a fellow passenger who photographed the altercation, told CNN. She added that her husband had to step in and restrain the attacker before police arrived. The victim and his infant child eventually boarded the plane for takeoff and were met with applause from the other passengers, according to Arkwright.
As a video shared on The Sun shows, passengers banded together to confront gate agents about the delays, expressing their dismay and the fact that there were numerous passengers with children and babies who needed to get to their destination.
“This is a disgrace. We have children, babies, screaming, no nappies, no food,” a female passenger said in the video. The video then shows the man holding the baby move toward the gate agent to take a picture of him with this phone. The agent slaps away the phone, which seems to prompt the fight.
“EasyJet is very concerned to see this picture and can confirm the person in the photo is not an easyJet member of staff and does not work for easyJet’s ground handling agents in Nice,” reps for EasyJet said in a statement. “We are urgently taking this up with Nice airport and their special assistance provider Samsic, who we understand the person photographed works for.”
We are concerned to see this - it is not an easyJet staff member & they do not work for our ground handling agents. 1/2— easyJet Press Office (@easyJet_press) July 30, 2017
The airline additionally explained that the exceptionally long delay was due to a mechanical issue with the plane and that it provided passengers with refreshment vouchers as they waited for departure.
“The safety and wellbeing of our passengers and crew is always easyJet’s highest priority,” the airline said. “EasyJet sincerely apologizes for the delay and thanks passengers for their patience.”
However, a simple apology may not be enough for the low-cost carrier. In an open letter to EasyJet CEO Carolyn McCall, which was also provided to Travel + Leisure, Arkwright wrote: “I and a full planeload waited over 14 hours on Saturday at Nice for a delayed EasyJet flight to Luton - including a number of babies and small children."
She wrote that information on their planned flight became murky at their airport as staffers provided passengers with contradictory information. Arkwright also claims that other airlines were able to get their planes to their destinations on time, but says EasyJet offered no alternative flights to passengers, even those traveling with small children.
“And then after 13.5 hours delay an official took a swipe at the father of one of these small children who was understandably remonstrating with him for the appalling treatment received,” she wrote, adding that they have even more video and photographic evidence to back up these claims.
Arkwright then demanded that McCall, “not some lackey,” write personally to every person on this flight with a full explanation.