By all accounts, they are a horrible airline. Based on the articles I've read, they are in part more horrible than the other airlines because they are trying to operate on even more razor thin margins.
So, first off, paying to fly with them seems to set yourself up for a horrible experience. Of course, perhaps that is all you can afford.
Second, standardizing fees and not allowing exceptions seems not wholly unreasonable as a business practice. (Even George Costanza had trouble with a "death in the family fare" about two decades ago.)
Third, if this guy had been a proper white British gentleman, dressed in a suit, I'd wager they wouldn't have made him pay in the first place. I'd bet there was a mechanism in place for a fare exception that wasn't used.