Passengers protested at the pilot's attitude.


The Guardia Civil were called out yesterday to remove two passengers from a plane, who had arrived late and were refused permission by the pilot to take their seats. A spokesperson for Spanair said that the flight, to Palma, was due to take off from Barcelona's El Prat airport at 11.10am, but was delayed until noon because of technnical problems which involved waiting for spare parts to be sent from Majorca, where the company has its base. When ground staff were about to remove the ramp prior to take off, a woman turned up at the gate and asked employees to wait for her husband, but staff told here the flight was closed and refused access. However, according to the airline, the husband arrived, ignored the ban and he and his wife entered the plane, occupying the seats on their boarding cards. At this point the commander said that they did not have permission to board and asked them to leave the plane. When they refused to obey the pilot the Guardia Civil were called and ordered them off the plane. They obeyed, but the man said that he had forgotten something, returned, sat down and refused to move, at which point the Guardia Civil handcuffed him and led him off the plane. The plane eventually took off 80 minutes late. Spanair informed the couple that they would not be allowed to fly on their planes and refunded the cost of their tickets. However, according to a passenger on the same flight, when the couple boarded the plane, they apologised to cabin staff, saying that they had not heard the boarding announcement. She said that the man argued that staff at the boarding gate had clipped their boarding cards, but the pilot insisted that they leave the plane. While waiting for the Guardia Civil, other passengers asked the commander to change his posture, but he refused. The witness said that most of the passengers protested at the pilot's attitude, and criticised what they considered an abuse of power. Many of them expressed this opinion in a letter of complaint delivered to the Spanair office on arrival in Palma. According to the passengers, the flight delay caused by the incident and the repairs was two hours.