As the easyJet crew prepared for the departure of flight 6149 from Bristol to Geneva, Charlotte Barton was sitting, seat belt on, in her assigned place: 13C.

Ms Barton’s mother had bought her the flight to Switzerland as a 50th birthday present.

The Exeter-based television producer had left home at 2am to drive to Bristol Airport for the 6am flight. She was heading for the Alps for a skiing trip with friends. But Ms Barton was about to be offloaded from the Airbus – an experience she describes as “humiliating”, and which would cost her the long-planned holiday.

“A man said I was in his seat,” she says. They compared boarding passes and found they were the same. The other passenger went to the front of the aircraft to speak to the cabin crew.