Ryanair flight delayed two hours as staff try to count passengers
A weekend flight to Belfast was grounded for almost two hours and didn't take off until midnight because flight staff couldn't work out the number of passengers on board, it has been claimed.
Around 100 people were on the late night Ryanair flight from London Stansted Airport on Sunday and were left stranded on the tarmac as staff tried to confirm how many passengers were on the aircraft.
Despite several aircrew coming on the plane and checking boarding passes on three occasions before take-off, passengers claim it soon became clear that they couldn't account for all those who were due to fly.
At one stage, it's understood that flight crew resorted to reading out names to check which passengers were on board one of the last flights out of the UK's third busiest airport.
The problem began after the aircraft appeared to be fully boarded at around 10pm.
The Ryanair flight was due to fly to Belfast International at 10.10pm. The wheels finally went up at midnight, however, there was considerable frustration among many of the passengers on board.
One disappointed Ryanair customer told the Belfast Telegraph yesterday that he witnessed "chaotic scenes".
"This was the last flight out of Stansted to Belfast so everyone was keen to get home as quickly as possible," he said.
"It looked as though there were two people on the flight who couldn't be accounted for.
"The flight attendants kept telling us that legally they couldn't take off until they had the correct number of passengers.
"They came around and checked everyone's details three times. At one point 10 airport staff were in and out of the plane trying to verify passenger details.
"There was a lot of frustration on board amongst passengers and a few raised voices so it was quite tense at times as we couldn't see an end in sight.
"We did receive a verbal apology from the crew when we eventually got to take off and on landing in Belfast at 1.20am instead of 11.30pm," he added.
"We were advised about the refund process if people wanted to explore that option. There was general discontent amongst the passengers particularly as public transport to and from the airport had finished by then."
Ryanair was contacted for a comment but had not responded at the time of going to print.