Hero in-flight doctor rewarded with free coffee by Easyjet but has to pay £1.20 for KitKat

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A doctor’s intervention onboard an Easyjet flight averted an emergency landing, saving the airline thousands of pounds – but they still decided to charge him for a KitKat.

Dr Edward Southall
Dr Edward Southall

On the 14th January, Easyjet flight EZY5091 from Gatwick to Thessloniki had a problem just over an hour into the flight. Senior cabin crew called through to the captain saying “A woman is seriously ill and we may have to consider diverting”. Shortly after, the cabin crew put out a call to passengers asking if a doctor was on board.

Retired Doctor Edward Southall immediately volunteered his services to the cabin crew to help with the situation. He was introduced to an elderly Greek lady and recalls: “She was very pale and sweating, and appeared breathless and distressed. With the aid of the on-board emergency kit, I was able to listen to her chest, take her blood pressure and pulse and generally assess her condition. I explained to the crew that I felt it was possible to monitor her for a while and continue to Greece without diverting to another airport.”

Dr. Southall gave up the remainder of his flight, closely monitoring his patient. He tells the Independent: “Fortunately she gradually showed improvement in her colour and breathing. After about an hour she was able to have some sleep and I was free to rest for the remainder of the journey”

With the emergency medical diversion avoided, Dr. Southall had saved Easyjet thousands of pounds in extra fuel, time and delays. His reward? Senior cabin crew came to him with the drinks trolley and said he was allowed to choose a free hot drink, but must pay £1.20 for the KitKat. Feeling a little hard done by, Edward contacted Easyjet’s public affairs department writing, ““I believe my intervention helped avoid an emergency landing. It therefore saved the company thousands of pounds. Was it therefore appropriate or proportionate that I should be offered a free coffee but be asked to pay for the KitKat?”

His message was ignored and when he escalated the matter, he was told that Easyjet would “We adhere to our policy”.

The Editor

I wish it was satire.