This Wednesday, a plane departing from Brussels to Tenerife was struck by lightning in mid-flight, fifteen minutes from its arrival. As a result, the flight was urgently diverted to Las Palmas in Gran Canaria where the 155 passengers landed around 3:30 p.m. A small hole was found on the plane’s frame. After a long wait, it was decided that the flight would not go to Tenerife and would return to Brussels for further inspection.
”Experts from Brussels Airlines and Airbus decided that the aircraft was cleared for one more flight”, said Maaike Andries, spokesperson for Brussels Airlines, report our colleagues from HLN. “So if the plane flew to Tenerife, it would have gotten stuck there. This is why it was decided to return to Brussels”. A new trip to Tenerife was to be chartered a day later.
But the announcement provoked the anger of the passengers, going as far as a real revolt. “Nope ! No, I do not think so !”, shout the passengers when the steward announces the return to Brussels. “Brussels Airlines would force us to fly back to Brussels, a 4 hour and 30 minute flight, in a plane that has a technical problem, but does not want us to fly another 15 minutes to Tenerife. This is sheer madness”testified a traveler to HLN.
“The situation has gotten out of control”, says the spokesperson for Brussels Airlines. “Some passengers absolutely wanted to get off”, but the company could not offer them services at Las Palmas airport. The police even had to intervene to calm the plane down. In the end, everyone had to get off at Las Palmas because the flight slot was exceeded following this setback and the passengers had to fend for themselves. However, the company will make sure to reimburse them for hotel expenses, and they may also request compensation. “An unpleasant situation for everyone,” concluded Maaike Andries.