Passengers chanted a British lawyer being kicked out of a plane after refusing to wear a face mask ‘due to his PTSD under the Equality Act 2010’ – although he is found on Egyptian soil.
Louis Stead, 31, was recorded arguing with EasyJet’s cabin crew on his return flight from Hurghada, Egypt, last month.
Flight attendants attempted to persuade Mr Stead to put on his mask before becoming enraged at the ‘way he was talking to them’.
The part-time lawyer from Islington, London, began reciting the Equality Act 2010 to justify why he shouldn’t have to wear a mask because of his PTSD – even though he was in Egypt .
Staff eventually told her to leave the plane before escorting her down the aisle to chants of “off, off, off” from the other passengers.
But the father-of-one claims he eventually backed down to return home and wore his mask after feeling ‘intimidated and humiliated’ by the ‘mob’.
In the clip, recorded by another passenger on September 26, the captain of the plane can be heard telling passengers they must wear face masks as Mr Stead tries to defend his actions.
The crew stated that they should inform the captain of their refusal and return a few minutes later to reiterate the need for Mr. Stead to wear a mask.
Mr Stead had no evidence of his disability with him other than a photo of his disabled parking badge, which was dismissed as ‘insufficient evidence’ when shown to the captain.
In part of the exchange not recorded in the video, Mr Stead claims he told staff ‘if you want me to take my bag, then you get my bag’.
Louis Stead, 31, was recorded arguing with EasyJet’s cabin crew on his return flight from Hurghada, Egypt, last month
In response, a member of the cabin crew, who had spoken calmly to Mr. Stead at first, told him “not to talk to them like that” and pleaded “please be respectful”.
Mr Stead is finally ordered to leave as his fellow travelers shout “ get off the plane ” followed by chants of “ off, off, off ”.
Other angry onlookers shout “take it off” and “f ** k off you t ** t” as a child starts to cry during the furious commotion.
The frustrated flight attendant can then be heard saying ‘people want you to go, you go now’ before leading Mr Stead down the aisle at the front of the plane.
But, having to be returned to the airport with his bag still in the hold of the plane, Mr. Stead eventually gave in and wore his mask throughout the flight.
The part-time lawyer (pictured), from Islington, London, has started reciting the Equality Act 2010 to justify why he shouldn’t have to wear a mask because of his PTSD – even though he was in Egypt.
Mr Stead is finally ordered to leave as his fellow travelers shout ‘get off the plane’ followed by chants of ‘off, off, off’
Mr Stead has since said covering his face causes post-traumatic stress disorder because it reminded him of the oxygen mask used to ‘keep him alive’ after he was stabbed in 2012.
He thinks the other passengers turned on him because he was ‘well dressed’ and assumed he was just ‘a rich man trying to get a quick one out’ – but insists about the fact that he has a hidden disability.
EasyJet claimed Mr Stead did not mention any medical exemptions initially and simply said he did not have to wear a mask.
He then spoke of his disability but “did not provide a medical certificate or government exemption” for not wearing a mask and added that a parking permit did not count.
The company also said that the equality law itself states that it does not apply on board an aircraft – especially when it is grounded on Egyptian soil.
Mr. Stead was escorted down the aisle but, having to be returned to the airport with his bag still in the aircraft hold, Mr. Stead eventually gave in and wore his mask for the entire flight.
Mr Stead said: ‘It was like I was being attacked by a pack of wolves. [The other passengers] were so quick to judge and it is wrong.
“ They just assumed the staff were always right and I was picky. They didn’t really know what was going on.
“The people in the front of the plane had heard everyone shouting ‘off, off, off’ so as I went down the noise followed and the people in the front and in the middle were then shouting ‘off’.
“ I think people felt like I was just refusing for the fun of it, but it’s just a crowd mentality and it’s absolutely abhorrent that in the 21st century, EasyJet allowed that to happen.
Mr Stead (pictured) has since said he thought the other passengers turned on him because he assumed he was just ‘a rich man trying to pull a quick one out’
“ It was intimidating, humiliating and the kind of behavior you would expect from someone who was gay in the 60s.
“I am really disabled. I am struggling with my post-traumatic stress disorder. It is not an invented condition but it is a condition which is invisible.
“ I dress well and look perfectly normal, and people assume I’m just a rich man who drives a nice car, runs perfectly fine, looks good and I just pull a fast car. ”
Mr Stead, who lives alone, had taken a ten-day trip to Egypt to scuba dive and find properties and land in which to invest.
He claims he was allowed to travel to Hurghada from Gatwick Airport without having to wear his mask after explaining his disability to a flight attendant.
He added: “The equality law is in place for a reason. They must follow this and they must not discriminate against people with hidden disabilities.
‘[The staff] didn’t seem to understand that company policy could not deviate from the law and the flight attendant kept trying to leave when I tried to explain to him.
“ The captains need to be made aware of the equality law, because the captain has the final say, but it’s just a pilot. How the hell does he know that?
Describing his PTSD, Mr Stead said: ‘When I was in the ambulance [in 2012] I was strapped in and had the oxygen mask on me, so when I have a face that gets covered, it causes me psychological problems.
“ Sometimes I can wear a mask for a few minutes and that’s good, but all of a sudden I’ll have a flashback and it’ll trigger something and I’ll start acting weird. It’s embarassing.’
An EasyJet spokesperson said: “The primary responsibility of our crew is the health and well-being of all customers and during the pandemic this is more important than ever.
“ For the safety of everyone on board and in accordance with EASA guidelines, easyJet requires all customers to wear a face mask and we make sure that customers are aware of this requirement throughout their journey from booking. It is also mandatory to wear a face mask in Egypt, where this problem occurred.
“ We know that some passengers may not be able to wear a mask, so we let all customers know before travel what to do if they need an exemption.
“They must provide a medical certificate, exemption card or lanyard to the cabin crew on board. Unfortunately, although he requested it on several occasions, Mr. Stead did not provide a medical certificate or government exemption.
‘We are sorry if Mr. Stead was not happy with the way this was handled on board, but the crew has a responsibility to all customers on board. ”