100 Ryanair passengers in luggage fee mutiny
Ryanair staff were left stunned when more than 100 passengers staged a mutiny over luggage charges.
The no-frills airline called police to help deal with the ensuing chaos which led to passengers being taken off a plane at Lanzarote, which was heading to Charleroi in Belgium. Only 64 of 168 passengers were eventually allowed to leave on the flight.
The dispute, which took place this weekend, occurred when a Belgian student was stopped at the boarding gate and asked to pay a 'gate fee' for a piece of outsized luggage that he was carrying.
The passenger's friends, who had already passed through the gate, came to his defence when he objected to paying extra.
The argument then escalated as dozens of other passengers joined in. The pilot called for police assistance and everyone on board was evacuated for questioning.
After three hours of what appeared to be mutiny, 64 travellers were cleared for the flight, while the remaining passengers were forced to make new arrangements.
Some booked flights on other airlines while others had no choice but to spend the night in the island's Guacimeta Airport as they waited to board alternative flights.
Yesterday evening, about 70 passengers -- most of them students from the University of Brussels -- were reportedly still stuck on Lanzarote as they could not afford a return flight.
Ryanair confirmed last night that a number of holidaymakers had been unruly and that they were asked to make other plans as a result of the confusion.
"Lanzarote police required that the entire aircraft be offloaded and each passenger was identified," a statement from the airline said.
"Following further disruptive behaviour, the police required for security reasons that this entire group be refused travel."
Despite the delay and added cost for passengers who were left behind, the no-frills airline insisted it had acted according to policy, to protect staff as well as customers.
"Any individuals who engaged in disruptive behaviour or refused to follow crew instructions will not be allowed to fly," the airline said.
"The safety and security of Ryanair's passengers, crew, and aircraft will remain Ryanair's No 1 priority."
Lanzarote is one of the airline's most popular destinations with flights to the island from 30 different airports across Europe, including Dublin, Cork, Shannon, and Knock.