Last updated: 12:38 PM ET, Fri July 29 2016

Passengers Riot After Flight Leaves Without Them

Impacting Travel | Rich Thomaselli | June 20, 2016

Passengers Riot After Flight Leaves Without Them

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

A wild story this weekend out of Dusseldorf, Germany, where a reported 70 passengers rioted after their already-delayed flight ended up taking off without them.

Worse, they were momentarily stranded on the tarmac after a bus had dropped them off near the plane.

It all unfolded last Friday night when passengers traveling from Dusseldorf to Dresden on Eurowings, a low-budget subsidiary of German national carrier Lufthansa Airlines, found out the flight would be delayed.

After about two hours, the airline announced the flight was ready but passengers would be taken by buses from the terminal to the tarmac, and board the plane via the external staircase.

READ MORE: Passenger Suing TSA After Missing Flight Due to Long Security Lines

The first bus transported a group of passengers, who boarded the plane. But in the mere minutes before the second bus arrived, the pilot made an ill-advised decision — as darkness fell, and hoping to depart before a night-time ban on takeoffs in Dusseldorf, the pilot decided to leave and fly those already onboard to Dresden.

Not a wise decision.

“I saw the aircraft through the window and was surprised the stairs were no longer at the doors. Suddenly, the plane moved off,” Mathias Schirmer, one of the stranded passengers told Sachsische Zeitung newspaper.

To add insult to injury, not only did the plane take off without those passengers, but it left with their bags — which had already been loaded on the plane, including diabetic syringes one passenger had packed in her luggage — but the bus briefly left, leaving them stranded momentarily on the tarmac.

When the bus returned, all hell broke loose. According to reports, the atmosphere became so heated passengers became physical with one another and the airport dispatched 10 police officers to calm the situation. The passengers were forced to stay the night in Dusseldorf and put on another flight to Dresden the next day.

“In consultation with air traffic control, the pilot decided to fly at least some of the passengers to their destination. We will compensate the others,” a Eurowings spokesman said.


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