Passengers stage mutiny aboard Lebanese airline

Passengers ‘mutinied’ on a flight from Heathrow after a thunderstorm left them waiting for take-off for almost seven hours.

Trouble erupted after a Beirut-bound Middle East Airlines plane, with 230 passengers aboard, had to abort a 5pm take-off on Thursday, having already missed its original 1pm departure slot.

With the Airbus A330 not given another slot until around 7.30pm, disgruntled passengers argued with crew, raided the galleys and started ‘pushing and shoving’, name-calling and engaging in ‘fisticuffs’, said witnesses.

A Lebanese woman passenger was said to have suffered ‘heart palpitations’, and a male passenger needed to be given oxygen.

Up to eight police officers boarded the plane at 5.50pm but there were no arrests after the fracas and flight ME 202 eventually took off for Lebanon, apparently with all passengers still onboard.

Speaking from Beirut, one London-based businessman explained how trouble broke out, saying: ‘The atmosphere was very tense and a middle-aged man told the crew member he was an idiot.

‘And that was when the pushing and shoving began. The captain came out once and I told him he had failed in his duty, to which he replied I should fly the plane.’

Another passenger, legal translator Jordan Lancaster, 45, compared the chaos to Lord Of The Flies, the novel about a group of schoolboys who descend into savagery when a plane crash leaves them marooned on an island.

Giving the Daily Mail an account of the unrest as it unfolded, she said: ‘People are hysterical. The crew have given up trying to explain the situation to people, and it has ended up in fisticuffs. Several men are also arguing with the captain. This guy in his 50s is so worked up he is being given oxygen.’

As Miss Lancaster gave her account from the cabin over the phone, a male cabin crew member was heard over the intercom system telling passengers: ‘If any of our crew have been rude to you, we apologize for that. We need passengers to hold their horses and calm down.’

Another passenger described the situation as ‘a mutiny’.

The airline said it did not disembark the passengers because it was hopeful of getting a take-off slot and did not want to miss it.

The plane had been taxiing along the runway at 5pm with a view to taking off when the control tower told the plane that it could not because of bad weather en route.

Middle East Airlines’ UK and Ireland manager Naima Kassir said the flight took off at around 8pm and arrived in Beirut five hours later without further incident, adding: ‘Some passengers were in transit from Canada and must have been tired. They got abusive and intimidated the crew.’

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: ‘We were called at 5.50pm to a Middle East Airlines flight at Heathrow Terminal 3 following reports of a disturbance. There were no arrests.’

Heathrow airport operator BAA said that altogether about 50 departures and 29 arrivals were called off because of high winds and thunderstorms. A spokesman said the schedule was expected to be ‘running fine’ today.

The Daily Mail

  • Hannibal

    Typical… lol

  • Typical… lol

  • eliasfd

    MEA airline is a piece of crap. I have flown it many times with no choice of other airlines before and they were bad from getco.
    One time we had at least 45 minutes to board and they said just wait and we’ll get you going. Then they told because we were late the plane had to take off. If the plane leaving at 3 PM and we got there at 2:15 because of the connection were late.. how could be late while we still had 45 minutes. We got stock with children and old ladies at the airport and MEA officials avoided us at all cost. They kept sending us from one building to another by train to no avail. It took nearly 18 hrs to fly us again. When i complained again at Beirut airport instead of applogizing to me they called security and threatened to beat me if i don’t stop complaining. Many times luggage were late or turned missing and never brought back or compensated us. Many times before they were suppose to fly on time. Then we were told that the pilot overslept and wait additional two hours to fly.. its like no professional at all and they expect you to put up and shut up. Well i am glad other airlines are flying there at least we have more competitions there. MEA sucked before and still does. they never changed their system and never will.

    • 316909

      Man Im sorry but I think its really funny. I know it sucked for you but why would they want to beat you and how did they say that? I believe you and I know its normal for Lebanese customer service reps to be very rude. Im sorry man! I just think its so funny they sent you from one place to the other for 18 hours and avoided you in another country and in Lebanon they just decided to threaten you with a beating because you complained….. I once had a house I wanted to sell in Beirut. listed it on a website that offered real estate services in Lebanon. A telemarketer called me on my Lebanese number while roaming at about $3 a min trying to sell me premium advertising space on that same website. I tried to cut it short so she called me a hayawan and hung up. I was so pissed I called back and asked for her manager. After explaining he went to talk to her then came back and told me she was not talking to me and basically started the sales pitch all over again…

      • Hannibal

        hayawan… hahahahahahahahahahahahaha that is too funny dude… 

  • eliasfd

    MEA airline is a piece of crap. I have flown it many times with no choice of other airlines before and they were bad from getco.
    One time we had at least 45 minutes to board and they said just wait and we’ll get you going. Then they told because we were late the plane had to take off. If the plane leaving at 3 PM and we got there at 2:15 because of the connection were late.. how could be late while we still had 45 minutes. We got stock with children and old ladies at the airport and MEA officials avoided us at all cost. They kept sending us from one building to another by train to no avail. It took nearly 18 hrs to fly us again. When i complained again at Beirut airport instead of applogizing to me they called security and threatened to beat me if i don’t stop complaining. Many times luggage were late or turned missing and never brought back or compensated us. Many times before they were suppose to fly on time. Then we were told that the pilot overslept and wait additional two hours to fly.. its like no professional at all and they expect you to put up and shut up. Well i am glad other airlines are flying there at least we have more competitions there. MEA sucked before and still does. they never changed their system and never will.

    • 316909

      Man Im sorry but I think its really funny. I know it sucked for you but why would they want to beat you and how did they say that? I believe you and I know its normal for Lebanese customer service reps to be very rude. Im sorry man! I just think its so funny they sent you from one place to the other for 18 hours and avoided you in another country and in Lebanon they just decided to threaten you with a beating because you complained….. I once had a house I wanted to sell in Beirut. listed it on a website that offered real estate services in Lebanon. A telemarketer called me on my Lebanese number while roaming at about $3 a min trying to sell me premium advertising space on that same website. I tried to cut it short so she called me a hayawan and hung up. I was so pissed I called back and asked for her manager. After explaining he went to talk to her then came back and told me she was not talking to me and basically started the sales pitch all over again…

      • Hannibal

        hayawan… hahahahahahahahahahahahaha that is too funny dude… 

  • Anonymous

    MEA airline is a piece of crap. I have flown it many times with no choice of other airlines before and they were bad from getco.
    One time we had at least 45 minutes to board and they said just wait and we’ll get you going. Then they told because we were late the plane had to take off. If the plane leaving at 3 PM and we got there at 2:15 because of the connection were late.. how could be late while we still had 45 minutes. We got stock with children and old ladies at the airport and MEA officials avoided us at all cost. They kept sending us from one building to another by train to no avail. It took nearly 18 hrs to fly us again. When i complained again at Beirut airport instead of applogizing to me they called security and threatened to beat me if i don’t stop complaining. Many times luggage were late or turned missing and never brought back or compensated us. Many times before they were suppose to fly on time. Then we were told that the pilot overslept and wait additional two hours to fly.. its like no professional at all and they expect you to put up and shut up. Well i am glad other airlines are flying there at least we have more competitions there. MEA sucked before and still does. they never changed their system and never will.

    • Anonymous

      Man Im sorry but I think its really funny. I know it sucked for you but why would they want to beat you and how did they say that? I believe you and I know its normal for Lebanese customer service reps to be very rude. Im sorry man! I just think its so funny they sent you from one place to the other for 18 hours and avoided you in another country and in Lebanon they just decided to threaten you with a beating because you complained….. I once had a house I wanted to sell in Beirut. listed it on a website that offered real estate services in Lebanon. A telemarketer called me on my Lebanese number while roaming at about $3 a min trying to sell me premium advertising space on that same website. I tried to cut it short so she called me a hayawan and hung up. I was so pissed I called back and asked for her manager. After explaining he went to talk to her then came back and told me she was not talking to me and basically started the sales pitch all over again…

      • hayawan… hahahahahahahahahahahahaha that is too funny dude… 

  • 316909

    If it was a British airlines plane they would have been in Jail. Since the MEA crew and most passengers are probably Lebanese they just let them go (7 hours later). MEA sucks but they unlike most other airlines actually make a pretty nice profit every year….

    • Rafic

      As to my experience it was always more positive then negative, but if a flight attendant is pretty she thinks she does not have to be very nice ,where we come from pretty girls are dime a dozen,but always they MEA are generous with their drinks like 316909 said if it was a European or US Airline those protesters would have been in jail.

      • Lebdude

        You know what. I was in lebanon last summer and a friend of mine told me he had never had sex with a women that he didnt pay! This guy is a little younger than I am and I cant even count how many girls I dated and slept with if I wanted to. I asked him about his girlfriend and wondered why he had not had sex with her and he said the most he has done in just under a year is get her top off. The weird thing is that summer I meet a Lebanese girl from germany at eddisand and was banging her day and night. I think Lebanese men that have not lived in europe, s.america, australia or n.america are treated like idiots by women because they are always in love. These guys see a girl and fall in love and basically she just walks all over him. Just listen to the music. its always about how he loves her but she loves some other guy, or her parents dont like him or he has no money to marry his love……… not a single song about paying 40,000LL for gas or 30% unemployment, or kids begging on the streets….

        • 316909

          I swear to God My this kid I know in Lebanon from my area asked me what girl Im in love with in the neighborhood. I told him I come to Lebanon for a week every month how can I love anyone in the area let alone a girl I have never talked to. Then he asked ok what girl do you wish you could fall in love with. And I didnt know what to say because I was shocked! I told him the girl thats cute and is willing to get naked in my bed. I tried to explain that I dont need to love a girl to sleep with her and he just didnt understand that. He said he would never offend his girlfriend by having sex with he like she wouldn’t enjoy it. They think that having sex is violating a women but its ok if you pay some russian $100 for it. I own a pub in Gemayzeh and basically when Im in lebanon I get at least one or 2 chances to get laid a week and this guy is talking about violating his girl. He was also younger but at least 25yr.

      • Lebdude

        You know what. I was in lebanon last summer and a friend of mine told me he had never had sex with a women that he didnt pay! This guy is a little younger than I am and I cant even count how many girls I dated and slept with if I wanted to. I asked him about his girlfriend and wondered why he had not had sex with her and he said the most he has done in just under a year is get her top off. The weird thing is that summer I meet a Lebanese girl from germany at eddisand and was banging her day and night. I think Lebanese men that have not lived in europe, s.america, australia or n.america are treated like idiots by women because they are always in love. These guys see a girl and fall in love and basically she just walks all over him. Just listen to the music. its always about how he loves her but she loves some other guy, or her parents dont like him or he has no money to marry his love……… not a single song about paying 40,000LL for gas or 30% unemployment, or kids begging on the streets….

        • 316909

          I swear to God My this kid I know in Lebanon from my area asked me what girl Im in love with in the neighborhood. I told him I come to Lebanon for a week every month how can I love anyone in the area let alone a girl I have never talked to. Then he asked ok what girl do you wish you could fall in love with. And I didnt know what to say because I was shocked! I told him the girl thats cute and is willing to get naked in my bed. I tried to explain that I dont need to love a girl to sleep with her and he just didnt understand that. He said he would never offend his girlfriend by having sex with he like she wouldn’t enjoy it. They think that having sex is violating a women but its ok if you pay some russian $100 for it. I own a pub in Gemayzeh and basically when Im in lebanon I get at least one or 2 chances to get laid a week and this guy is talking about violating his girl. He was also younger but at least 25yr.

  • Anonymous

    If it was a British airlines plane they would have been in Jail. Since the MEA crew and most passengers are probably Lebanese they just let them go (7 hours later). MEA sucks but they unlike most other airlines actually make a pretty nice profit every year….

    • Anonymous

      As to my experience it was always more positive then negative, but if a flight attendant is pretty she thinks she does not have to be very nice ,where we come from pretty girls are dime a dozen,but always they MEA are generous with their drinks like 316909 said if it was a European or US Airline those protesters would have been in jail.

      • Anonymous

        You know what. I was in lebanon last summer and a friend of mine told me he had never had sex with a women that he didnt pay! This guy is a little younger than I am and I cant even count how many girls I dated and slept with if I wanted to. I asked him about his girlfriend and wondered why he had not had sex with her and he said the most he has done in just under a year is get her top off. The weird thing is that summer I meet a Lebanese girl from germany at eddisand and was banging her day and night. I think Lebanese men that have not lived in europe, s.america, australia or n.america are treated like idiots by women because they are always in love. These guys see a girl and fall in love and basically she just walks all over him. Just listen to the music. its always about how he loves her but she loves some other guy, or her parents dont like him or he has no money to marry his love……… not a single song about paying 40,000LL for gas or 30% unemployment, or kids begging on the streets….

        • Anonymous

          I swear to God My this kid I know in Lebanon from my area asked me what girl Im in love with in the neighborhood. I told him I come to Lebanon for a week every month how can I love anyone in the area let alone a girl I have never talked to. Then he asked ok what girl do you wish you could fall in love with. And I didnt know what to say because I was shocked! I told him the girl thats cute and is willing to get naked in my bed. I tried to explain that I dont need to love a girl to sleep with her and he just didnt understand that. He was also younger but at least 25yr.

  • master09

    Whats it to do with MEA how about the bad weather and the uneducated Arabs on board. On another subject yes MEA is crap.  

  • Anonymous

    Whats it to do with MEA how about the bad weather and the uneducated Arabs on board. On another subject yes MEA is crap.  

  • kareemthehippy

    How barbaric and disgusting.  I was flying to Lebanon in December on MEA from Heathrow, during the snow storm, which wasn’t really a storm. I thought the crew handled it well and treated all the passengers really well..compared to the other airlines that didn’t help their passengers and left them in the airport for days.

    A mutiny on the plane? Goddamn it. Then again, speaking as a Lebanese, one would probably stage a mutiny in a taxi if there is too much traffic.

  • Anonymous

    How barbaric and disgusting.  I was flying to Lebanon in December on MEA from Heathrow, during the snow storm, which wasn’t really a storm. I thought the crew handled it well and treated all the passengers really well..compared to the other airlines that didn’t help their passengers and left them in the airport for days.

    A mutiny on the plane? Goddamn it. Then again, speaking as a Lebanese, one would probably stage a mutiny in a taxi if there is too much traffic.