An easyJet passenger was stunned when he printed out his boarding pass only to see an advert for a drone at the bottom – amid days of chaos at Gatwick Airport.
Luckily Benoît Guilbaud, a teaching fellow at the University of Sussex, saw the funny side of it but said: "You couldn’t make this up."
It comes after 36 hours of chaos for more than 120,000 passengers who saw their flights delayed or cancelled after drone sightings at London Gatwick – Britain’s second busiest airport.
Mr Guilbaud added of the ironic advert: "The boarding pass for my maybe-cancelled Easyjet flight from Gatwick tomorrow advertises… drones!"
The drone drama saw the military and snipers called in to help, while police from the Met and Surrey have joined forces to patrol the area while the operator – or operators – remain at large.
Flights were finally able to depart after 6am this morning – with the first a rather festive one as it was heading to to Rovaniemi, the capital of Lapland in northern Finland.
Meanwhile, a bemused Mr Guilbaud who shared the picture of his boarding pass on Twitter has since received an apology from easyJet.
They replied: "The advert was placed before the issues at Gatwick and has now been removed. We are sorry for any offence."
One person said in response: "Dear easyJet – don’t worry, anyone offended should get a sense of humour. Normal people just enjoy the irony."
The huge ad was of a DJI Mavic Drone for rent – with a 40 per cent discount offer for customers.
The flying device can be rented from equipment site Tryatec to shoot aerial film for £100 per week online – but it is on offer at £60 per week for easyJet travellers.
This morning, Sussex Police assistant chief constable Steve Barry said the last confirmed sighting of a drone was at 10pm last night.
He told BBC Breakfast: “The last few days has been unprecedented nationally I would say, I mean we have had minor incursions previously at Gatwick and we have responded to those really effectively.
“But like I say, this scenario that we’re dealing with has been unprecedented so in terms of getting the level of options available to respond to it, to mitigate it, to detect it and respond to it, that has taken us some time, but I’m really confident now that we’ve got everything we possibly could have here at Gatwick.”
Asked if the disruption was part of an environmental protest, he said: “Well it’s certainly something that we would consider. Yes, I would agree that’s a possibility.
“At this stage we’re certainly not linking it to terrorism, but obviously we keep an open mind and I can understand the perception.
“It is, as I say, an unprecedented level of disruption to national infrastructure to the passengers themselves. It’s really really significant. But in terms of the motivation as I say you know we’re exploring lines of enquiry around that but at this stage we’re not saying that it is terrorist related.”
Around 700 departures are expected to go ahead today, the chief operating officer announced.
Chris Woodroofe told Radio 4’s Today programme that the airport has currently cancelled 140 flights – 18% of the original plan.
He apologised to those affected over the past 36 hours.
When asked why has it taken so long to reopen the airport, Mr Woodroofe said “this incident has demonstrated that there needs to be an awful lot more done to prevent this risk of drones.”
Meanwhile, Gatwick is continuing to advise passengers to check the status of their flight with their airline before travelling to the airport.
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