GARDAI had to be called to Shannon Airport after what has been described as a “mutiny” took place among passengers on a diverted Ryanair flight last week.
The flight from Krakow to Cork had to be diverted to Shannon due to high winds, but passengers were kept waiting for a number of hours on the tarmac and were not allowed to get off, despite the fact that many of them were due to travel on the Limerick anyway.
After spending close to six hours on the plane, passengers then began to demand that they be let out and claim their baggage, leading to an “agitated” and “vocal” stand-off between passengers and crew.
Noel O’Donnell, a native of Limerick who lives in Poland and was a passenger on the plane, said that after hours of waiting on the tarmac last Wednesday night, the situation came to a head when the pilot announced that the plane would be heading back to Cork.
“Everybody started getting agitated. Passengers stood up and started shouting ‘no way’. One passenger told the pilot ‘you might be going to Cork, but we’re not’”.
The three-hour flight had been due to land in Cork at 10.30pm on April 17, but as it approached the airport passengers were told that the flight was being diverted to Shannon due to the weather, where it landed a short time later.
Mr O’Donnell said that the flight then taxied to a waiting spot “a long way from the terminal”. He said that it was clear that there was “chaos” in the airport, as a number of diverted flights attempted to land.
Mr O’Donnell said that the plane had been sitting on the runway for “over an hour”, at approximately 12.30am, when the passengers “got a bit vocal”.
Mr O’Donnell said that passengers, who had left Poland at 7.30pm Irish time, had been on the plane for almost six hours when the pilot announced that the flight was “heading back to Cork”.
This prompted protests from many, who began to demand that they be left off. Mr O’Donnell said that after discussions with the pilot, it was announced that anyone who wished to get off in Shannon could do so, but that their checked luggage would remain on the plane and would have to be collected in Cork. This prompted further protests and the intervention of ground staff, who boarded the plane to talk to the crew and passengers.
The tense situation was finally resolved when all baggage was unchecked, and passengers who wished to get off in Shannon were told they could claim their luggage.
All unclaimed luggage was re-loaded on to the plane, and the aircraft and the remaining passengers flew to Cork.
Mr O’Donnell, who was travelling home for his mother’s birthday celebrations, said that “people power” had brought an end to a situation that was “like a mutiny”.
A spokesperson for Ryanair said that the airline “sincerely apologises” for the delays passengers faced on Wednesday April 17, but denied that there was “chaos” on the flight, or that gardai attended the scene.
“Ryanair flight FR 8285 (from Krakow) diverted into Shannon due to strong crosswinds at Cork Airport. Passengers were requested to remain onboard as the pilots were waiting for the winds to abate at Cork.
“Some passengers requested to be allowed offload in Shannon and were permitted to do so.
The majority remained onboard and the aircraft departed for Cork after a 2hr 30 minute wait on the ground in Shannon.
“Ryanair sincerely apologises to all passengers affected by these adverse weather diversions and delays”.