BRUSSELS, Feb 7, 2011 – Some 100 Belgian students were thrown out of a Ryanair flight after a heated argument with the crew over a luggage fee in the Canary Islands, officials and the low-cost airline said Monday.
The shouting match erupted after a group of passengers refused to pay for oversized luggage at the gate before boarding the flight from Lanzarote to Charleroi airport outside Brussels on Saturday, the airline said.
Spanish police intervened and ordered all 166 passengers off the plane, Ryanair said in a statement.
"Following further disruptive behaviour, the police required for security reasons that this entire group (of 100) be refused travel," the airline said.
The remaining 66 passengers were allowed to board the plane three hours later.
"There was a rather violent incident between a crew member and a passenger," a Belgian foreign ministry spokesman said.
A young woman who was part of the group of students said: "A flight attendant lost it and the situation degenerated due to fatigue and the stress."
Ryanair said it would bring back some of the 100 passengers who remained in Lanzarote on later flights but that individuals who "engaged in disruptive behaviour or refused to follow crew instructions" were banned.
The company will bring back some of the remaining 100 passengers in five or six groups on different flights, the Belgian foreign ministry spokesman said.
Around 30 students returned to Belgium late Saturday after booking tickets on another airline. The other ones lacking the financial means to buy a new ticket were stuck on the island and contacted the Belgian consulate for help.
Ryanair charges 30 euros ($40) for a first bag on Canary flights and an additional 40 euros for a second bag, according to the company\’s website.