Jeremy Clarkson embroiled in flight boarding row as airport says he missed calls
Published 16/11/2016 | 00:21
Jeremy Clarkson became involved in a "verbal dispute" with an airport official after he was unable to board a flight from Stuttgart Airport, German police said.
The former Top Gear star and a film crew were stopped from boarding the BA flight to Heathrow after missing several calls from the lounge, both a police spokesman and an official from Stuttgart Airport said.
Clarkson was suspended and then later fired by the BBC last year after a "fracas" that saw him punch Top Gear producer Oisin Tymon.
On Tuesday the 56-year-old claimed he and his team were barred from getting on the flight by airport worker Manuel Pereira, who he said told him at the departure gate: "I'm from Argentina, so f*** you."
Spokesman for the Reutlingen police department, Christian Worner, said Clarkson and the film crew "paused in the lounge and thereby they did not hear the call for the delayed flight to London."
"Mr Clarkson did not want to accept this and there was a verbal dispute with the airport employee."
Mr Worner added that Mr Pereira was "definitely not Argentinian" and an official from Stuttgart Airport confirmed he was Spanish.
Clarkson stirred up a diplomatic row in 2014 when he and Top Gear co-hosts James May, 53, and Richard Hammond, 46, were forced to flee Argentina while filming a Christmas special.
They had been driving around the South American country in a Porsche with the registration number H982 FKL, which some locals suggested could refer to the Falklands conflict of 1982.
Mr Worner said it is "not comprehensible" to link the 2014 incident to the reported airport debacle and added that the TV star was able to book a later flight.
He added that for the police to investigate the incident further, Mr Clarkson or the airport employee would need to file a complaint.
Clarkson told The Sun that the comments at the airport were heard by Hammond and a producer on the trio's new Amazon show, The Grand Tour, and said Mr Pereira tried to claim the team were too drunk to board the aircraft.
He told the newspaper: "The police said it was a hate crime and he would be arrested. Yes, even the Germans were 100% on our side - for once."
Clarkson went on to tell the paper the team got an easyJet flight back to Gatwick, arriving in the UK before their original flight, which had subsequently been delayed.
The TV presenter mentioned his easyJet flight in a tweet on Monday, writing: "Credit where credit is due. @easyJet first class service from Stuttgart this evening. Hannah especially."
Mr Pereira told The Sun he is Spanish and denied swearing, adding: "I would never say such a thing. I wasn't rude. I was polite and professional."
A Stuttgart Airport spokesman said the incident would be investigated with staff, adding that Mr Pereira is "Spanish, not Argentinian".
A statement read: "The ground services for the mentioned flight were operated by our partner, S Stuttgart Ground Services.
"In this case, Mr Clarkson and his team missed several calls in the lounge while the other passengers have been already boarded.
"Due to airline policy, after a certain time of absence the luggage will be removed from the aircraft and the missing passengers will be withdrawn from the passenger list. From this point there is no chance for boarding, even if the passengers show up.
"Nevertheless the personal behaviour of the staff member described in the article does not conform to our approach on customer service at Stuttgart Airport.
"S Stuttgart Ground Services will investigate the event with its staff. We do already know that the employee mentioned is Spanish, not Argentinian."