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Passengers forced into £20k whip-round for fuel

17 November 2011

British airline passengers were forced to stage a giant whip-round and hand over £20,000 in cash after being ‘’held to ransom” by their airline.

More than 180 were left stranded on their Boeing 757 when cabin crew announced during a refuelling stop that the Austrian carrier Comtel Air had ‘’run out of money”.

The plane from Amritsar, in India, was on a stopover at Vienna en route to Birmingham. Passengers were told that the flight would continue only if 23,400 euros (£20,005) was handed over. Otherwise they and their luggage would be removed from the aircraft.

Police were called in when they refused to get off. A six-hour stand-off ended only when passengers were escorted to cashpoint machines. These eventually ran out of money and many of those on board had no funds anyway.


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