Passengers asked to leave plane as it is ‘too heavy’ to fly

Exclusive: ‘We apologise to our customers for the delay, but emphasise the decision was appropriate,’ says Loganair chief executive

Cathy Adams
Tuesday 24 December 2019 16:12 GMT
Passengers asked to leave plane as its too heavy to fly

Passengers were asked to leave a flight bound for Derry when they were told the plane was “too heavy” to fly.

Loganair flight LM462, which was travelling from London Southend airport to Northern Ireland’s second city, was delayed due to bad weather in Derry on the morning of 21 December.

Independent journalist Ben Kelly, who was flying home for Christmas with his husband Dom, reported that five passengers were asked to disembark the Embraer aircraft so it could leave safely.

Mr Kelly tweeted: “The alternative for the people who get off the flight is having to leave this airport to go to another London airport to be flown to Belfast, which is 1.5-2 hours away from Derry”.

Mr Kelly, who had paid £200 for a one-way flight, said that three passengers then agreed to disembark and fly to Derry from Birmingham. He claims that the remaining two passengers were chosen for disembarkation as they were the last to check in.

The plane eventually took off three hours later at 12pm and landed in Derry around 1.10pm, he said.

Loganair chief executive Jonathan Hinkles told The Independent: “The main reason for Saturday morning’s delayed departure from Southend was bad weather at Derry. Had it left on schedule the flight would have been diverted to Belfast International.

“When the weather cleared at Derry, a combination of low pressure and rainfall left the runway surface at Southend in a condition which imposed limitations on the aircraft performance. The aircraft was consequently over its maximum available take-off weight for the conditions.

“Five customers volunteered to travel via another routing to Derry. The full costs of this will be covered by Loganair and the customers have each been offered €250 in compensation.

“We apologise to our customers for the delay, but emphasise the decision was appropriate and resulted in our customers arriving at Derry at the earliest opportunity once the weather had cleared sufficiently to enable the aircraft to land there.”

Sometimes it’s pets that are over the weight limit rather than passengers.

Last month, an Aeroflot passenger almost succeeded in pulling off an ingenious stunt to take his overweight cat into the cabin on a flight.

The Russian airline’s rules stipulate that pets weighing more than 8kg must travel in the aircraft hold.

But 34-year-old Mikhail Galin, unwilling to part with his 10kg pet, Viktor, decided to weigh in a small cat and swap it for his own after check-in.

The case came to the attention of Aeroflot, which decided to strip Mr Galin of his air miles.

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