• Debunked badge

No, This Airline Didn't Have Passengers Flying With Backless Seats Despite What It Looks Like

Hope the airlines don't get any ideas from this...

Low-cost airlines, eh? It's safe to say they get their share of criticism.

John Macdougall / AFP / Getty Images

Earlier today, it seemed that one airline in particular had sunk to a new low. Except, of course, things weren't exactly as they appeared.

#easyjet beats @Ryanair to have backless seats. @IATA @EASA this is flight 2021 Luton to Geneva. How can this be allowed. @GeneveAeroport @easyJet_press @easyJet

It all started when Twitter user @mattiasharris shared a photo that appeared to show one passenger travelling on a seat that was missing a back support. "How can this be allowed," he wrote.

The tweet has been shared more than 5,000 times, along with criticisms of the budget airline.

The account also flagged the image with the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Naturally, people were appalled, baffled, and full of sarcasm.

@mattiasharris @Ryanair @IATA @EASA @GeneveAeroport @easyJet_press @easyJet We are delighted to offer you our new 'comfort row' featuring 3 inches of extra back room, at a very reasonable additional charge

And pretty quickly, the replies were full of requests from journalists who wanted to know more about the whole thing. No back support? That's rather shocking.

At first, the airline, easyJet, asked the passenger to delete the photograph while it investigated.

@mattiasharris Hi Matthew, thanks for bringing this to our attention, before we can investigate this could I ask you to remove the photograph & then DM us more info regarding this, so we can best assist you. Ross https://t.co/Qq2zhBAizh

"Hi Matthew, thanks for bringing this to our attention, before we can investigate this could I ask you to remove the photograph and then DM us more info regarding this, so we can best assist you," the reply said.

It's fair to say this didn't go down very well, either.

Easy Jet’s PR team have responded horribly to this. Asking @mattiasharris to remove the picture screams trying to cover up rather than fix.

A spokesperson for easyJet told BuzzFeed News that the company would be looking into the Twitter response, since it was "not in line" with its usual approach online.

In a statement, an easyJet spokesperson told BuzzFeed News: “No passengers were permitted to sit in these seats as they were inoperative awaiting repair," and clarified that the flight departed with five spare seats onboard.

@mattiasharris I have the following update: No passengers were permitted to sit in these seats as they were inoperative awaiting repair. Safety is our highest priority and easyJet operates its fleet of aircraft in strict compliance with all safety guidelines. - Dan

The Twitter user has also clarified that the plane did not actually take off with anyone in the broken seat. However, they went on to question the safety of the plane.

One has to wonder how safe the rest of the plane was. This was her seat. The lady was moved to a spare seat once the flight was fully boarded. Not sure what would have happened if the flight was full. My partner took the photo. -- end --

"The lady was moved to a spare seat once the flight was fully boarded."

Naturally, people feel a little misled.

@mattiasharris She had a perfectly working chair to sit on. But you, you sir...

And it's a pretty timely reminder that you can't always trust things you see on the internet.

Giphy / Via giphy.com



Ade Onibada is a junior reporter at BuzzFeed and is based in London.

Contact Ade Onibada at ade.onibada@buzzfeed.com.

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here