UK Government Using Discount Airlines to Deport Immigrants When Avios Award Tickets Too Costly

Since the UK lacks a Great Wall across its borders, they find themselves needing to deport people. They use budget airlines for that, like easyJet flight 5263 from London Gatwich to Venice.

On August 23 a deportee screamed “‘Allahu Akbar’ 29 times, ‘death is coming’ 17 times and ‘we will die’ nine times” on the 696 mile flight.

easyJet, of course, was deemed the best option because the flight was over 650 miles and so would have cost the UK government more than 4500 Avios had they used BA.

The man was a “failed asylum seeker who had spent a year in a UK detention centre” being deported to Italy as that was considered “the first safe country” they had reached. Goodness knows what they experienced during their year in detention.

One has to wonder, though, if a passenger is considered:

  • Safe enough to travel on a commercial flight
  • Skilled enough to navigate the myriad rules and fees of an ultra low cost carrier

…why this isn’t someone they’d anxiously want to keep in the country. The Italians, however, are just as likely to take a dim view of this loud passenger as the Brits did.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. Please don’t divert into political territory. Your travel-related posts are usually good, but geopolitical immigration theory is clearly not in your zone of expertise.

  2. Chad, what do you think this post is about? There’s no immigration policy recommendation here, pretty sure he’s saying that the system is absurd which is a fairly basic point. And it’s a pretty travel-related post.

  3. “One has to wonder, though, if a passenger is considered:

    Safe enough to travel on a commercial flight
    Skilled enough to navigate the myriad rules and fees of an ultra low cost carrier
    …why this isn’t someone they’d anxiously want to keep in the country.”

    Looks like an immigration-related statement much more than a travel-related statement. (Maybe he’s being sarcastic or humorous, and if that’s the case, I’ll happily withdraw my criticism.)

  4. This WHOLE POST seems pretty ironic, don’tcha think? I’m pretty sure Gary isn’t claiming the UK government chooses easyJet because they can’t get a great deal on BA redemption flights to deport people?

  5. As a UK tax payer I wouldn’t be too happy about choosing to use the most expensive flight to Italy one could possibly find for the sake of it – if Easyjet or Ryanair is good enough for most European tourists why isn’t it good enough for a failed asylum seeker? BA is not a state airline. UK Immigration policy itself is of course an entirely different matter which is well beyond the scope of this blog.

  6. Remy seems to have a lot of time on his hands and not much upstairs. Find a better hobby than blog trolling.
    Stick to travel topics, Gary.
    What a pleasant flight thar must have been for the other passengers.

  7. Are there immigration officers accompanying the deportees? If not I wouldn’t consider it unreasonable if a fellow passenger elbowed him into unconsciousness as a defensive measure until the situation could be assessed.

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