Fliers Taken Off Plane to ATMs to Help Buy Fuel

Passengers may not get their money back

By Greg Wilson
|  Thursday, Nov 17, 2011  |  Updated 7:21 AM PDT
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Fliers Taken Off Plane to ATMs to Help Buy Fuel

Boeing 757.

Passengers on a Britain-bound charter flight were forced off in Vienna and taken to ATMs to help pay for the rest of the flight.

The Boeing 757, operated by Comtel, was flying from Amritsar, India, to Birmingham when it made the pit stop. Passengers rounded up some $35,000, according to the Telegraph, and handed it over to the crew.

"They lined up the buses and said we would be removed from the plane if we didn't pay up," Rnanbir Dehal told the paper.

"They wanted a load of money up front in cash otherwise they would remove your bags from the hold," added Tarlochan Singh.

Passengers were given receipts and promised they'd be paid back. But a spokesman for the Association of British Travel Agents said if passengers bought scheduled tickets with an airline that is insolvent, they may have no recourse.

Kandra Bhupinder, boss of Comtel parent company Golden Air Group, said vendors ad not paid the company and thus created a cash-flow problem.

“Comtel is not bankrupt," he said. "Our partners were not able to pay us, so I have no money to fly.”

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