It transpired today that spy-turned-whistleblower Edward Snowden is not in a transit lounge in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport awaiting a decision on his application for asylum in Ecuador, but is instead locked in a bitter dispute with budget carrier Ryanair over the level of surcharges they believe he should pay.
‘I had a travel plan all set up,’ explained Snowden, ‘but when Ryanair heard that I was wanted by the US government they slapped a £2m enemy-of-the-state surcharge on me. I’m now stuck here until I can pay it, and it’ll cost extra if I want to pay by credit card.’
A Ryanair spokesman confirmed: ‘The small print on page 9 of the booking form clearly states that if the passenger is a fugitive from the US government on treason charges, a surcharge of £2m will be applied – and more if they have luggage.’
‘We had exactly this problem with Julian Assange last year,’ he continued. ‘He wouldn’t accept that we didn’t fly to Ecuador, so we sold him a ticket to their embassy in London and told him to wait for a connecting bus service.’