Low-cost carrier wants to fly pope for free

Low-cost airline easyJet has offered to fly Pope Benedict to Britain for free after critics attacked the 20 million pound cost to taxpayers of the trip.

“We are confident that once he has tried easyJet, His Holiness will never look back,” easyJet said in a statement.

“His Holiness will be able to check in online, take advantage of the airline’s generous hand baggage allowance, sit back and enjoy the excellent customer service from our friendly cabin crew.

“In addition the airline will also include free speedy boarding, to enable his holiness to be amongst the first to board the aircraft and have a choice of seats,” the airline said.

The airline said it contacted the Vatican on Wednesday to extend the invitation and was waiting for a response.

Pope Benedict, who usually flies with easyJet rival Alitalia, confirmed on Monday plans to visit Britain later this year.

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Interesting and a rather generous offer. I wonder how the Vatican will respond

I think for many reasons he uses his own plane…it might be for security reasons…but it is a nice offer and would also get them lots of free publicity

It also could look like the pope was endorsing a product if he used this service…I am not really sure what the protocol for this type of thing might be…I can only imagine what would happen if the pope started taking freebies for the use of the Vatican

Actually, the Holy Father does not use his own plane. The Vatican does not own an airplane. Alitalia and other airlines have always been very generous by outfitting a plane for the popes to travel. Usually, an airline in the host country volunteers to provide an airplane. This was one of the disappointments when Pope Benedict came to the USA. None of the American carriers volunteered and Alitalia came to the rescue. They provided the airplane to come to the USA and then sent the plane back to pick him up. A plane with other passengers is not the safest idea in the world. I would be surprised if the offer is accepted by the Secretariate of State.


Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:

I thought he leased one…It always says Shepherd 1 when he lands…so it looks like it is his

Oh, I see where you’re coming from. No, what happens is this. Popes do not travel as religious leaders. They travel as heads of state. When a head of state travels, his plane has a proper title, regardless of who owns it. For example, any plane carrying the President of the USA will always be coded Air Force One. This is an internationally recognized code to all flight control towers around the world that the President is on board. The same happens with the popes. Shepherd One is the code term that indicates to the people on the ground that this flight is carrying the pope.

Hope that helps.


Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:

Yes it does…I always forget he is also a head of state…I can’t see him being passed around like a bowl of popcorn to anyone who will give him a freebie

I think things are donated but done quietly with no expectation of public acknowledgment

It seems if a company was really in earnest about flying him for free they would have quietly contacted Rome…I don’t like people using him for free publicity

I don’t think there is any danger of passing the pope around like a bowl of popcorn. I thought it was a very kind gesture on the part of the ariline. But their practical arrangements are not practical. Obviously who ever made the statement did not take into account safety.

I really don’t mind them getting free publicity. I’ll tell you why. They are a business. The accommodations that an airline has to make to carry a head of state is costly and it comes out of its pocket. They still have to pay many people to make this happen. Given today’s economy we’re talking about people’s salaries and their livelihood. If they can make up for the cost through some free publicity, that’s not immoral. They deserve the reward and their employees deserve to be paid.

All that being said, I can’t see the pope at an express check-in at an airport anymore than I can see the Queen of England or the President of the USA. It’s not safe.


Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:

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