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Offbeat

Walkin’ wardrobe: British Airways rejects passenger who tried to board flight wearing everything he packed

Ryan Carney Williams was trying to avoid an excess baggage fee by wearing 10 shirts and eight pairs of pants

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 17 January, 2018, 1:06pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 17 January, 2018, 10:26pm

There are many approaches to avoid paying a fee for excess luggage when travelling by air these days.

You could pack light, cramming all your belongings in an approved carry-on bag.

You could book with an airline that doesn’t charge for baggage.

Or, in the case of one man flying out of Iceland last week, you could try boarding the plane while wearing 10 shirts and eight pairs of pants.

That was the approach of a traveller identified by the Iceland Monitor as Ryan Carney Williams, who claims he was booted from a British Airways flight from Keflavik International Airport to England on Wednesday for wearing everything that was in his luggage.

In a pair of videos posted to Twitter, where Williams goes by the alias “Ryan Hawaii,” he filmed himself at the Keflavik airport, practically swallowed in layers of clothing. At least two sweaters – or are they pants? – were draped on his shoulders and tied around his neck.

On Twitter, Williams said he couldn’t afford the excess baggage fee, about US$125, “as a result of being left homeless in Iceland for over a week.” He also claimed British Airways had told him he could board the flight if he wore all of his clothes at once but then rejected him anyway.

“They’re really having me dress like this to go on, and they won’t even let me go on,” he said in the January 10 video, with a disapproving look at the camera.

In the video, Williams called the airline “despicable” and openly wondered if he was the victim of racial profiling.

“Is it ’cause of what I look like?” he asked.

In a subsequent video, Williams is seen asking gate agents to explain to him why he couldn’t get on the flight. One agent holds up a finger and threatens to call the police, telling Williams he wasn’t allowed to film them.

Williams told the Iceland Monitor that British Airways agents denied him a boarding pass because he was rude, then called a security guard on him. Police allegedly used pepper spray on Williams and arrested him, the Monitor reported.

A British Airways spokeswoman said customers who book “hand baggage only fares” can choose to pay a fee at the airport if they end up needing an extra bag.

“We give our customers a wide range of fares to choose from to meet their needs,” the airline spokeswoman said. “We explained our policy to our customer, and offered him an alternative flight to London.”

Williams’ travel woes didn’t end with the British Airways flight, apparently. The following day, he posted a video of himself back at Keflavik airport and said he had been turned away from a second flight back to England, this time on easyJet.

“The Captain and the ground crew were concerned about reports from the previous day so we provided a refund and he travelled with another airline,” easyJet spokeswoman Ruth Bishop said.

Williams eventually flew home on a third airline. It was unclear if all his clothes made it.