Airline tells passenger to remove 'bollocks to Brexit' hat before he can fly

PUBLISHED: 19:18 09 May 2019 | UPDATED: 19:23 09 May 2019

A man was told to take off his 'bollocks to Brexit' hat before he could take a seat on a FlyBe flight. Picture: Derek Knowles

A man was told to take off his 'bollocks to Brexit' hat before he could take a seat on a FlyBe flight. Picture: Derek Knowles

Derek Knowles

A man was told to remove a woolly hat with "bollocks to Brexit" on it before he could take his seat on a flight because another passenger reportedly found it offensive.

Become a Supporter

The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism

Derek said it was a 'ritual' of his to share selfies in his hat when he flew. Picture: Derek KnowlesDerek said it was a 'ritual' of his to share selfies in his hat when he flew. Picture: Derek Knowles

IT consultant Derek Knowles was boarding FlyBe's flight BE664 from Knock, in west Ireland, when a flight attendant said he would not be allowed to sit down while he had his hat on.

"She just took exception to it," said Derek. "She was polite but firm, saying it might be offensive to other people and I'm not allowed to wear it on the plane."

The airline has since said that a passenger had complained about the hat, and even followed up by writing to FlyBe's CEO about it later.

READ: Opera singer asked to remove 'provocative' pro-EU dress ahead of concert

Derek, who was assigned to seat 1B at the front of the plane, reasoned that he wouldn't be walking down the aisle, so others wouldn't see the hat.

Lib Dems use 'Bollocks to Brexit' messaging. Photograph: Twitter.Lib Dems use 'Bollocks to Brexit' messaging. Photograph: Twitter.

He took his seat anyway, but agreed to remove the hat soon after, when the flight attendant got the pilot involved.

"I didn't want to delay the flight or get thrown off," he said. "I felt like I'd taken it far enough."

Derek has flown the route between Knock and Manchester on a weekly basis since February and has worn his hat every time, taking selfies to share with his friends.
"It's become a sort of ritual," he said.

He said it's never been a problem before, and people are always asking him where he got his hat from.

"It always raises a laugh at Manchester Airport, the security guards give a little chuckle as I go through," he said.

You may also want to watch:

"I typically find people just go, 'yeah, bollocks to it'."

He added that he thinks the Liberal Democrats' new slogan - which also says "bollocks to Brexit" - is a positive move.

"It really does resonate with you - it empowers people," he added.

READ: Lib Dems tell those offended by 'Bollocks to Brexit' messaging to get a sense of humour

He plans to keep wearing his hat on future flights, and wore it without problems the next time he flew.

Another regular passenger, who had seen the interaction, even came up to him and congratulated him for wearing it again, he said.

A spokesperson for FlyBe said that, as a passenger had complained, the crew member had been following the airline's terms and conditions when she asked Derek to remove his hat.

"Flybe's terms and conditions, to which passengers must agree prior to an online booking being confirmed, clearly state that when on board, passengers 'should not behave in a way which causes discomfort, inconvenience, damage or injury to the crew or other passengers'," said the spokesperson.

"If this is deemed to have happened, 'we may take any measures we think reasonable to prevent you continuing your behaviour'."

Become a Supporter

The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.

Become a supporter

You've seen the news, now discover the story

The New European is committed to providing in-depth analysis of the Brexit process, its implications and progress as well as celebrating European life.

Try 13 weeks for £13

Latest Articles

Most Read

latest issue

ANTI-BREXIT EVENTS

Find your nearest anti-Brexit campaigning activities, talks, protests and events nationwide.

Newsletter Sign Up

The New European weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy