Airline strands passengers, demands cash for fuel
Airlines have already begun charging for food, drinks, seat assignments and baggage. Now one is demanding that passengers cough up extra cash on board for fuel.
Hundreds of passengers traveling from India to Britain were stranded for six hours in Vienna when their Comtel Air flight stopped for fuel on Tuesday. The charter service asked them to kick in more than 20,000 pounds ($31,000) to fund the rest of the flight to Birmingham, England.
The situation may represent a new low in customer care in an era when flyers are seeing long lines, long waits and few perks.
Britain’s Channel 4 news broadcast video showing a Comtel cabin crew member telling passengers: “We need some money to pay the fuel, to pay the airport, to pay everything we need. If you want to go to Birmingham, you have to pay.”
Some passengers said they were sent off the plane to cash machines in Vienna to raise the money.
“We all got together, took our money out of purses — 130 pounds ($205),” said Reena Rindi, who was aboard with her daughter. “Children under two went free, my little one went free because she’s under two. If we didn’t have the money, they were making us go one by one outside, in Vienna, to get the cash out.”