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Disgruntled Passengers Stage A Sit-In

Over 100 disgruntled passengers staged a sit-in aboard a Ryanair flight last night by refusing to disembark a plane that was re-routed to Belgium.

The Ryanair flight carrying mainly French travellers from Fez in Morocco was expected to have landed at Beauvais Airport near Paris on Tuesday night but was delayed by weather.

But because of its late departure, by the time it reached Beauvais, the airport had closed.

After being re-routed, it landed at the southern Belgian city of Liege, where the militant travellers staged a four-hour sit-in, demanding to be taken back to France.

Passengers claimed that when they refused to disembark the aircraft, Ryanair cabin crew turned off the lights, locked the toilets and left them on the tarmac for four hours.

One passenger, Reda Yahiyaoui, who was travelling with his wife, three-year-old daughter and two-month-old baby, said: ‘We were all tired after a long journey and angry at being dumped 200 miles away in Belgium.

‘We just wanted to get back home so we sat on the plane asking to be flown to France.

‘But they just parked the plane then turned off the lights and locked the toilets and left us with no food or water.

‘The pilot also got off and even left the cockpit door open.’

Mylene Netange, another upset passenger said: ‘We were staging a legitimate protest but what they did was unacceptable. They just walked off and left us there.’

A spokesman for Leige airport said they tried to persuade the passengers to leave the plane by offering them food and drink in an airport lounge, then free buses back to Beauvais.

‘We said they could sit in comfort in a transit lounge but it was a difficult negotiation and they refused to budge,’ he said.

It was not until four hours after the plane touched down, at 3.30am, that the passengers finally agreed to leave the plane, he added.

Ryanair’s Stephen McNamara released a statement saying: ‘Due to the weather related (fog) closure of Paris Beauvais Airport on 16th November four Ryanair flights were forced to divert to Liege.

‘The majority of passengers followed crew requests to disembark for onward coach transportation to Paris Beauvais. Passengers on one flight, FR5222 (Fez-Paris Beauvais), ignored crew instructions and remained on the aircraft until requested to disembark by Airport Police.

‘Ryanair thanks the majority of passengers who followed crew advice and apologises to them for the inconvenience of these weather related diversions. All passengers were coached onward to Beauvais.

‘This is now a matter for the police.’

Understandably the passengers involved were upset with the diversion the Ryanair flight had to make, however adverse weather conditions can cause any flight to divert or cancel and unfortunately there’s not a lot we can do about that.

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