Passengers clash with flight staff after five hour delay
POLICE were twice called to a stationary aircraft after reports of passengers clashing with staff after being stranded on tarmac for over five hours when their plane was diverted.
Pilots of the Qatar Airways flight landed at the UK's Birmingham Airport on Monday night after severe winds prevented the plane landing at Manchester, where it had been scheduled to arrive at 7PM.
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Passengers were instructed to remain in their seats as they waited for the plane to be refuelled and for new flight crew to arrive at the airport.
Police were first called to the aircraft after some passengers reportedly began vocally expressing their agitation and officers were forced to return two hours later after reports that angry passengers were attempting to disembark the plane.
Footage taken at Manchester Airport shows passengers waiting for the return leg of the flight becoming increasingly frustrated with staff after the events in Birmingham resulted in a knock-on delay to the aircraft's return to Qatari capital Doha.
Some in Manchester claimed that had been waiting for up to 24 hours in the airport after earlier delays.
One passenger who was in the plane when it was on the tarmac and asked not to be named, spoke to The Daily Mail: "We were told they were waiting for refuelling and then a new crew.
"Some passengers started kicking off so the police were called. An old lady next to me was shivering so we asked for blankets but there weren't enough.
"When we got home I had to sleep for two days to recover."
A spokeswoman for Qatar Airways apologised for the delay. She said that after the diversion the plane was unable to fly back to Manchester as operating crew had exceeded their legal flying hours by the time that the aircraft had been refuelled.
Passenger and crew safety, she said, were the number one priority and a new crew was taken to Birmingham as fast as possible, at which time the plane took off for Manchester.
"In the meantime, Qatar Airways arranged for the transportation of the passengers to Manchester."
West Midland's Police confirmed reports of disruptive passengers at 10:30PM. Officers boarded the plane and spoke to passengers and crew. No complaints were made at the time.
A spokesman for the force said: "A further delay in the flight's departure resulted in officers being called again two hours later after passengers became angry and some tried to disembark.
"The airline decided to cancel the flight and transport passengers to Manchester by road."
The passengers were finally allowed into the terminal, but say they then had to wait until 5:30AM until they were allowed to board a bus.
They were filmed as they grew increasingly animated and frustrated with airport staff and the footage was later uploaded to YouTube.
The title of the video indicates that some had been waiting for as long as 24 hours after their flight the night before had been cancelled.
It added that 'zero information' had been given for the delay or regarding connecting flights.
On Tuesday, seven flights were diverted out of Manchester Airport due to extreme windy conditions.