In quite possibly the worst flight delay in history, passengers of Ryanair (big surprise) Flight 8347 had to call the police on their own plane after being stuck onboard for four hours without food or water. [UPDATE: Ryanair responds.]

The Valentine's Day flight from Stansted to Oporto, Portugal was supposed to leave at 8:25 PM. It didn't board until 12:15, but that was only the start of the awful.

The passengers allegedly repeatedly asked for food and water but were denied and given the same, unchanging update for hour after hour. A handling agent was supposed to show up, but never did.

At 3:00 AM, the airport closed and the passengers reportedly were told they wouldn't be allowed to leave the plane.

At 3:15, the passengers successfully get through to the police.

At 3:25, the police arrive and give the airport a deadline to get their shit sorted out. Still no food or water, and only intermittent air conditioning in the plane.

At 3:45, the passengers of the ill-fated flight finally get to leave. This is nigh on four hours onboard, nearly eight hours since the flight was supposed to leave.

The police then have to break into the airport setting off alarms. The passengers are now in an area where they would be able to get food and other refreshments, but everything is closed.

Ryanair tells the passengers the flight will eventually leave at 6:00 AM, with the gate announced over the PA system and on departure boards. Neither announcements happen and only some people board at the right time and place. Others try to reschedule but are mistreated by Ryanair's people, according to the passenger YouTube uploader João Pinheiro. The flight doesn't set off until 8:30 AM.

The Independent reports that Ryanair apologized for the delays and gave their passengers vouchers for refreshments.

And I thought my flight delays were bad.

UPDATE: Ryanair responded with the following statement that they "sincerely apologize" and that there were "several false claims in relation to this incident."

Due to strong winds across the South of England (14 Feb) over 20 airlines were forced to divert into Stansted from Heathrow and Gatwick airports which significantly disrupted handling and fuelling operations at Stansted. This Ryanair flight from London Stansted to Porto was delayed by the weather disruption and a subsequent fuelling delay at the airport.

After approximately two hours waiting for fuellers, the Captain requested the handling company (Swissport) to allow the passengers into the terminal which was locked. The Captain switched on the aircraft's air conditioning while waiting for Swissport staff to arrive and the cabin crew provided water to passengers. When Swissport failed to arrive the Captain requested the police to let the passengers into the locked terminal. The police subsequently arrived and allowed the passengers into the terminal. Passengers were then provided with refreshment vouchers on Ryanair's instructions.

The aircraft departed the following morning at 7.50am. Ryanair sincerely apologises to all passengers on this flight who were affected by this delay.

Ryanair wishes to correct several false claims in relation to this incident;

  • The claim that passengers had to call the police is untrue – the Captain called the police.
  • The claim that the air conditioning was not switched on is false – the Captain switched on the air conditioning.
  • The claim that passengers were held by Ryanair against their will is false – the Captain made every effort, first with the handling agent (Swissport) and then with the police, to arrange for passengers to be allowed into the terminal which was locked.
  • The claim that passengers were not provided with refreshment vouchers or water is untrue – Ryanair crew provided water to passengers on board and refreshment vouchers were issued to passengers following disembarkation.