Passengers bullied to get off plane

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Passengers bullied to get off plane

Now this would be an interesting situation. With one cabin member sick they had to remove 13 passengers. But no one wanted to go.

A packed passenger jet spent a chaotic 90 minutes on the tarmac at Melbourne airport as crew members begged, bribed, cajoled and bullied 13 passengers into getting off the aircraft.

With one crew member ill, safety regulations meant the Pacific Blue flight scheduled from Melbourne to Christchurch was unable to take off on Wednesday morning unless it shed 13 bodies.

But, as Melbourne newspaper The Age reported, passengers dug in their heels despite crew attempts to get them off - including the pilot's threat to kick them all off and fly an empty plane across the Tasman.
... Quote:
It was quite bizarre," said Age journalist Brendan Nicholson, who was on the flight to Christchurch with his two sons for his mother's 80th birthday.

They [the crew] were fairly apologetic but at the same time quite tough.

Initially, crew called for volunteers, suggesting anyone with friends and family in Melbourne might like to stay another two days till the next flight.

Alternatively, they could fly to Sydney, then Brisbane, then on to New Zealand late that night.

With volunteers unforthcoming, the crew then rounded up passengers on standby and escorted them off.

Most went meekly, but one girl lay low till crew warned "if you're hiding, we'll track you down".

She finally owned up and was ejected. Increasingly desperate crew then said any volunteers willing to take the next flight would also receive an additional free flight.

As passenger reluctance continued, said things then got tough, Mr Nicholson said.

If no one volunteered, the crew warned, they would pick off passengers who had been last to check in. But these people would not get the free flight deal.

"Last chance folks, if you think you are among the last to check in," the intercom said.

"In a couple of minutes, anyone who doesn't volunteer to move will be removed from the aircraft."

Crew members then began prowling the plane, picking out passengers they thought were late to check in.

One couple stammered that they were on their way to a wedding, and were granted a reprieve.

Crew resumed the search for late-comers.

The pilot then spoke on the intercom, warning that if 13 passengers did not get off the plane, he would leave everyone behind and fly an empty plane across the Tasman.

Eventually, with a renewed offer of the free flight deal, a couple were cajoled to head back down the gangway and the flight took off, 13 passengers and a fair bit of goodwill lighter.
By netchicken: posted on 25-1-2008

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