More than 100 passengers were left in limbo after a pilot refused to fly – due to a “smelly plane”.
Passengers on the Easyjet flight from Birmingham to Geneva last Wednesday evening were told to get off the aircraft after boarding because the pilot had detected an unidentified “funny smell” near the rear of the cabin.
The flight, which was due to take off only minutes later, was unofficially “cancelled” by the pilot on Birmingham Airport’s tarmac.
Passengers, some with young children and babies, were left for up to five hours before being told they were heading to a hotel.
The unidentified smell, which according to the pilot was ‘chemical’ in nature, was initially investigated by ground crew.
It is understood that the pilot was the only member of crew known to be able to smell the curious odour, but decided to cancel the flight as a safety precaution
A total of 106 passengers were then asked to ‘go back into the terminal’ at 7:40pm, and await further instructions on the flight, with the pilot saying over the tannoy that “the bad news is I do not think we’ll be flying tonight”.
Passengers said Easyjet representatives and crew “went home” once the flight was grounded, leaving a third party company, airport ground handling firm Swissport, to organise passenger’s welfare.
One passenger said: “I asked if I should get my children some food, and the representative simply said, “Go out and wait for twenty minutes until there is an update”.
That was at 8pm.
They said: “We waited an hour but heard nothing, then the flight simply disappeared from the departure information screen at Birmingham airport.
“I only knew that the flight had officially been cancelled when I asked another passenger who was leaving the seating area what was happening, and he told me it was cancelled.”
Problems got worse for passengers after some had difficulty proving they were even on the flight as the Easyjet app deleted their boarding passes once the flight was cancelled, and they were initially stopped from collecting their own baggage.
Other passengers didn’t know they had been rebooked on the flight the following morning.
The passenger continued: “My kids are going to have four, maybe five hours of…