A TRIP home from Brazil got complicated for a group of about 150 Slovaks after their flight captain airplane booted them off the airplane.
The group was returning from a two-week stay in Brazil when the problems started on December 5. The plane from the German low-cost Condor airline returned to the airport in Salvador de Bahia after about one hour of flying due to a bad smell in the cockpit.
“The pilots had oxygen masks, they were afraid that the stuff was toxic,” said Slovak actress Antónia Miklíková, who was travelling with the group, the Sme daily wrote. “During the flight, they let out the fuel in order to make a safe landing. They switched off all the lights except the emergency lights. We did not know whether we would return or whether the aircraft would crash.”
After a check of the plane did not uncover the source of the smell, the flight was planned for the evening of December 6.
“The captain said that he would fly along the mainland as much as possible so he could make a landing if he needed to,” another passenger told the daily. “The plane was supposedly alright.”
Fifteen Germans refused to board.
Before takeoff, the smell emerged again. Passengers warned the crew about the smell.
After a verbal clash between the passengers and the crew, the captain ordered the Slovak group to leave the plane. He reportedly claimed that the Slovaks were intoxicated and aggressive, so he was not able to be responsible for a safe flight.
A spokesman of Thomas Cook, which operates Condor, said that the Slovak passengers endangered the security of the flight, the Hospodárske Noviny daily wrote.
“The pilot acted in the interest of the safety of the passengers,” said Mathias Brandes.
The ousted Slovak passengers, who had to return to Slovakia on their own expenses, deny that they were drunk and aggressive, and are considering asking the company for compensation.
17. Dec 2007 at 0:00 | <i>Compiled by Spectator staff from press reports</i>