Were flight-abandoning passengers right or just plane stupid?

24 June 2009

71 passengers got off a Thomas Cook plane due to head from Mallorca to Newcastle earlier this week after being asked to move seats in order to balance the plane. The unusual request came after a door jammed, preventing luggage from being loaded in the front of the hold.

Despite the captain reassuring the passengers that the flight could progress as normal with no risk, dozens of them opted to get off and sleep in the airport instead, catching another flight the following day.

A Thomas Cook spokeshuman said: “This is a routine industry procedure and poses no safety issue. We are disappointed that despite reassurances from the captain and crew, a number of passengers decided not to travel."

So was this a legitimate safety concern or just an example of a handful of empowered customers stoking the fires of hysteria? Have you been on a flight that was so sparsely-populated that you had to sit in a certain seat just to be able to keep the crate on an even keel and in the air? Maybe you would also have got off rather than be treated as a piece of human ballast? Perhaps you think the passengers who got off the Thomas Cook flight were ill-educated, panicky idiots? As ever, your thoughts are welcome. Apart from the gormless ones, obviously.

TOPICS:   Travel


  • Me
    Moving people around to correctly balance an aircraft is pretty common. Such situations occur when there are only a few passengers or when there is cargo at one end (as it seems was the case on the above) so the passengers are placed opposite for balance. If you stuck everything at the back of your car, the weight would make it unbalanced and the back sink. Same principle applies. It would affect the plane only during take off and landing. Seems like someone started the hysteria and plenty of sheep followed. Ill educated, panicky - hmmm!
  • Anon
    Read this in the Metro this morning. You left out the part where they saw passengers of the previous flight disembark and fall to their knees kissing the floor. That would make me pretty nervous!
  • TeflonMan
    The secret of safe air travel: Aim for an equal number of take-offs and landings ...
  • Joff
    I've flown with budget airlines in the past where the flight's been half-full (or half-empty) and rows of seats and the front and rear have been left empty to force people to cuddle in the middle.
  • MrRobin
    Yes yes it's common practise to move people around for take off and landing (in the air it does not matter so much because it is easier to 'trim' the aircraft)
  • Jake
    Ryanair do this a lot. The number of time I've been told to sit anywhere except the front and back of the plane is a lot. I can't remember not being told where to sit on a Ryanair flight.
  • anon
    Who are these morons? A little common sense would tell you its perfectly normal. I bet the 71 that got off didnt even have a GCSE to their name. Morons!
  • The B.
    I've only ever been on the half empty plane that gets delayed because they merge the next flight with it to save costs by cancelling the next one.
  • Pure-Klenz
    @anon pipe down wing nut
  • > H.
    I like it, I am tall so don't get much leg room, so I'd be glad that the others got off, cheers.
  • Andrea
    Complete morons! like Thomas Cook would even think about flying an unsafe aircraft
  • James
    Reading the BBC report, I get the impression people got off the name not because they were told to move, but at fear that the locked/jammed cargo door could open mid flight.
  • juankerr
    It's standard paractise, when I used to fly in the 45 seater Espaerers, unless they were full, they'd always move us round. Well not me, the fatties first. Stupid Geordies.
  • James R.
    Newcastle must be populated with stupid bloody idiots not to see the sense in this common place request. Complete muppets should be prevented from flying in the future
  • andy y.
    Always North East flights.Oh the shame
  • Fucking M.
    Yes been on several flights which do this, makes perfect sense to everyone who has a basic understanding of physics. Bet the people who got off spent the week complaining about 'funny foreign food' and eating egg and chips all week. Should all be sterilized and not allowed out of the house in future.
  • Alex
    Chatting to our pilot* at work here, if the centre of gravity is too far to the back of the plane, the controls become increasingly sensitive until it becomes difficult to fly the plane and if the centre of gravity comes too far forward, the controls becomeunsensitive until, you've guessed it, it becomes difficult to fly the plane. *You get all sorts in audit, he's sitting next to a doctor of biochemistry.

What do you think?

Connect with Facebook, Twitter, or just enter your email to sign in and comment.

Your comment