On BA all customers are treated as equal, except some are more equal than others if this report in the Daily Mail is anything to go by:
British Airways was accused last night of giving preferential treatment to celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay after allowing his son to fly with him on a New Year family holiday to Thailand on an invalid passport.
A businessman, whose passport also breached international aviation rules, was barred from the same flight.
As the multi-millionaire star of TV shows Kitchen Nightmares And The F Word checked in at Heathrow with his wife Tana and their four children on Thursday night, staff noticed his eight-year-old son Jack's passport was 18 days over the six-month expiry date rule for international travel.
They told Ramsay that the boy could be denied entry by Thai immigration officials when the family landed at Bangkok.
But Ramsay, who had booked six £6,000 first-class returns, said he would risk it and boarded the flight with Tana, Jack and the boy's sisters Megan, Holly and Matilda.
However, the furious business executive, whose passport was also due to expire in less than six months, was not allowed to board.
Asking not to be named, he said last night:
"There's one rule for Gordon Ramsay and another for everyone else."
The passenger, from West London, had been visiting his wife's relatives in America and the couple were planning to spend New Year in Thailand.
He eventually cleared his passport with Thai authorities and flew out on Friday night on another BA flight.
"Technically, they were right, but it seemed harsh, as I had been cleared to fly from Boston into London.
I heard BA staff saying Gordon Ramsay's son had just got on the plane and his passport had less than six months before it expired – which put him in the same position as me.
I took the matter up with the customer services manager.
He said he had been on the plane to check the passport of Gordon Ramsay's son and that, in fact, it was in order.
I can't believe he lied to me. I will be writing a letter of complaint to BA."
British Airways said:
"Because Jack was part of a family of six about to go on holiday, the decision was taken to allow him to travel.
The risk that he would be denied entry to Thailand was fully explained to his parents, who said they would accept the risk.
This was a very difficult decision and we accept that another customer, who was denied boarding on the same flight, might regard it as unfair.
However, we remind customers that it is their responsibility to ensure they have the correct passport and visas before travelling."
A spokesman for Ramsay refused to comment.