Published on Thursday, November 17, 2011
Passengers on a flight from India to Britain claim they were forced to fork out more than £20,000 in cash to pay for fuel to allow the plane to complete the journey.
According to BBC reports, more than 180 passengers on a chartered Austrian Comtel Air flight from Amritsar to Birmingham were stranded on the tarmac in Vienna during a refuelling stop after being told the airline "ran out of cash to fund the last leg of the trip".
Passengers said the airline then threatened to remove their luggage from the plane if they did not pay up.
The passengers refused to get off the plane in a six-hour standoff.
The dispute was finally resolved when Austrian police were called and the passengers were escorted to ATMs to withdraw cash.
Comtel Air began offering cheap flights from Birmingham to Amritsar, via Vienna, last month.
The airline is investigating the incident and Birmingham Airport said it has started its own investigation.
Bhunpinder Kandra, director of passenger services for Comtel Air, reportedly said: "I have heard what happened, it shouldn't have happened, and I will investigate why it happened.
"The people who had to pay the money will receive a refund."
According to the BBC, other passengers are still stuck in India after other flights were cancelled.
Kandra said a flight was due to leave Amritsar for the UK on Friday.
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The recent insolvency of Low Cost Travel Group, one of the large players in the travel industry had a big impact on the travelers, hotels and all related players from both wholesale & retail arms. There were about 27,000 people on a holiday who had booked through the company comprised of a €200 million wholesale arm and €500 million OTA / retail arm.