BA flier refused information about his veggie meal – because of data protection rules


A BRITISH Airways passenger was told he could not check his choice of vegetarian meal – because it could breach data protection rules.

Nigel Tozer, a data protection expert, was booked on a BA flight and went online to confirm his choice of meal for the flight.

But Nigel, from Birmingham, was astonished to discover that the airline could not provide the information for “privacy” reasons.

Nigel, a marketing director with a data protection firm, was told: “We can confirm that you have a special meal choice on order but, for privacy reasons, we are unable to show you the type of meal.

“If you’re not sure of the type of meal you ordered please choose your meal again.”

He screengrabbed the message and shared in on Twitter, telling the carrier: “Hey at British_Airways I just logged-in to my own flight to check my vegetarian meal had been ordered, but for privacy reasons, you can’t show me?

“So my food choice is so private, even I’m not allowed to see it?”

He added: “Your DPO [data protection officer] needs a good talking to.”

Referencing the General Data Protection Regulation, a law that came in last year, he added the hashtag “GDPRgonemad”.

He later added: “Wait. I’ve had an idea. To bolster my food choice privacy even further, why not have the cabin crew wear blindfolds when they serve it?”

@mericsonAU joked under Nigel’s post writing: “Can you log a freedom of information request for your meal preference”.

@MattsStylinHat added with a picture of Dr Evil from Austin Powers: “I totally would just on principle”.

@legal_mccormick said: I think data protection gone mad may well become the new political correctness gone mad.

@ltshaw711commented: “Someone else could be using your BA app to find out if you prefer green beans instead of broccoli.”

A spokesman for British Airways said: ““We pride ourselves on offering up to 14 different meal options for a wide range of dietary and religious needs.

“We’re currently investigating what caused our website to show this message on the ‘Manage my Booking’ page and apologise for any inconvenience.”

The Information Commissioner’s office warned companies to not use the Data Protection Act as a smokescreen for not giving out information.

Deputy Commissioner David Smith made the remarks in 2008 after identifying that organisations had been too often refusing to release information under false cover the Data Protection Act.

He said at the time: “The Data Protection Act does not impose a blanket ban on the release of personal information”.