Monday, May 30, 2011

Air passengers in 'Lord of the Flies' mutiny after seven-hour delay on Middle East Airlines

Furious passengers staged a "mutiny" on a Heathrow flight after they were delayed for seven hours.

Eight police officers were forced to intervene and some angry travellers grappled with the captain.

One witness likened the scene on the Middle East Airlines service to "something from Lord Of The Flies" as passengers raided the galley for meal trays and a Lebanese woman suffered heart palpitations. The flight to Beirut was one of 80 delayed for an average of two hours or cancelled as thunderstorms and winds of up to 40mph battered the country. City worker Jordan Lancaster was among the 250 people who boarded the flight at 1pm. It then missed its departure slot.

Ms Lancaster, a 45-year-old legal translator travelling to an archaological dig, called the Evening Standard at 7pm and said: "It is like something from Lord Of The Flies, people are hysterical. There are at least four babies and lots of elderly people on board.

"The crew have given up trying to explain the situation to people, and it has ended up in fisticuffs. Several men are also arguing with the captain. This guy in his fifties is so worked up he is being given oxygen."

As Ms Lancaster was talking, a male cabin crew member could be heard over the intercom saying: "If any of our crew have been rude to you, we apologise for that.

"We need the passengers to hold their horses and calm down."

The steward then appeared to blame the delay on the passengers, stating: "You have two options. Either there will be a police investigation or people should calm down and let us leave." (read more)