Passengers Storm Plane Demanding To Fly After Airline Cancelled Them Two Days In A Row

Passengers stormed a Brussels Airlines Airbus A330 out of frustration after their flight was cancelled on Friday and then again on Saturday. Once they learned of the second cancellation, they made a dash for the plane anyway and tried to board!

It made no sense to head across the tarmac to the aircraft, carry on bags in tow. They weren’t going anywhere. Arguing with staff wasn’t going to change that. But passengers don’t always behave rationally when airlines drive them insane.

If I were running the airline I’d ban passengers that did this as too unruly to take the risk in transporting. But passengers were able to travel Sunday night, on the third attempt.

Brussels Airlines has a surprising presence in parts of Africa with historical ties to Belgium’s colonial days. The Democratic Republic of Congo was a Belgian colony from 1908 until 1960. The carrier offers daily service from Kinshasa to Brussels. The only other European carriers serving the airport are Air France (4 times weekly) and Turkish (5 times weekly).

(HT: Paul H)

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  1. Unless you have been to the DRC this would seem insane in any other country. In Kinshasa it’s a daily occurrence in most public settings when things get heated.

  2. What a great idea, one of the passengers can even fly the plane! Even if the plane needs maintenance, the passengers can get some tools and “tinker”. What the heck were they thinking?

  3. There is a bit more to this story as the large Congolese/Rwandan community in Brussels is often complaining that they are treated unfairly by the airline and Zaventem airport, which courted controversy recently by moving the African flights to an old and undesirable wing of the airport away from all other flights. This is just part of a long running and ongoing theme.

    You have to admit that it’s interesting that they cancelled the flight 2 days in a row when they clearly could have cancelled another flight and used that aircraft – unless there is some reason why only that A330 can be used for the FIH flight. All airlines have ranked preferences for which flight to cancel first when they are short airworthy aircraft, and there is sometimes a kernel of truth underlying these complaints (i.e., my limited observations are that American will almost always cancel a Brazilian flight rather than one to Europe).

  4. Admittedly stupid behavior but I wonder how the airline handled cancelations. Did they offer any help to the stranded passengers and explain the reasons for the repeated cancelations ? Certainly not a place I would want to be stranded.

  5. I can understand their frustration. But as others have accurately said, it’s DRC. That’s all you need to know.

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