Entertainment & Arts

Jeremy Clarkson 'flight ban' story comes under scrutiny

Jeremy Clarkson Image copyright PA
Image caption Clarkson's claims were front page news in Wednesday's edition of The Sun

Police in Germany have queried Jeremy Clarkson's claim he was barred from a UK-bound flight by an airport employee because of a 2014 Top Gear controversy.

A Reutlingen police spokesman said it was "not comprehensible" to link the furore with Clarkson's inability to board a plane at Stuttgart Airport.

Clarkson claimed an airport worker had sworn and said he was from Argentina as he stopped him boarding on Monday.

It has since emerged the TV star and his team missed calls for the flight.

"The film crew with Mr Clarkson paused in the lounge and thereby they did not hear the call for the delayed flight to London," said the police department spokesman.

Following a late arrival at the gate, he continued, there was "a verbal dispute" with an airport employee, identified by The Sun newspaper as a Mr Manuel Pereira.

Mr Clarkson, who had been in Germany filming his new show The Grand Tour, was able to board a later flight to London.

According to Mr Clarkson, the flight he and his team ended up taking arrived in London before the one they missed.

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A spokesman for Stuttgart Airport said the late arrival of Mr Clarkson and his team meant their luggage had been removed from the aircraft and their names withdrawn from the passenger list.

"From this point there is no chance for boarding, even if the passengers show up," he continued.

The spokesman said the incident would be investigated by its partner company, S.Stuttgart Ground Services.

According to The Sun, Mr Clarkson had been waiting to return to the UK with fellow ex-Top Gear presenters James May and Richard Hammond when the dispute took place.

Mr Clarkson, who writes a weekly column for the newspaper, said Mr Pereira had claimed to be from Argentina and had used a profanity before "marching off looking pleased with himself".

Image copyright Sebastian Guzman
Image caption The Top Gear special prompted protests for featuring this controversial number plate

He also claimed other airport workers had suggested he and his co-presenters were "too drunk" to fly, when they had in fact had just "one can of beer".

The Sun said Mr Pereira had denied he was from Argentina or that he had sworn at Mr Clarkson when the paper spoke to him on Tuesday.

"I would never say such a thing," he is quoted as saying in Wednesday's edition of the paper. "I wasn't rude. I was polite and professional."

The representative from Stuttgart Airport confirmed Mr Pereira was Spanish and not Argentinian.

Top Gear's Argentina special prompted protests in 2014 over a car number plate that appeared to refer to the Falklands War.

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