THE Bristol-bound easyJet flight took off without 29 of its passengers this Saturday.
The group had gone through the departure gate at Malaga airport, after showing their boarding passes, when ground crew appeared and pulled a security ribbon across their path, blocking their entrance to the gangway leading onto the aircraft.
A few minutes later the 6056 flight pulled away from the stand and began its journey to the runway.
The angry passengers tried to re-enter the airport, via the departure lounge, but were locked out.
Staff members from a nearby perfume shop came to their rescue.
The stranded 29 were offered the option of a free nights accommodation near the airport or a seat on the easyJet flight to Gatwick at 10.30pm, with a coach back to Bristol.
Businessman Iain Locke, 58, told the Daily Mail: ‘I got to the airport and showed my boarding pass and then we were herded towards the aircraft and were waiting in the stairwell which leads to the walkway to get onto the plane. The stairwell was full and people were getting on the plane but then boarding seemed to stop. After wondering what was going on, I looked through the doors onto the airport apron and the plane had gone. I turned round to the guy beside me and said “I don’t want to alarm you, but the plane has gone.” I just couldn’t believe it.’
He added: ‘We were banging on the doors for about 10 minutes trying to raise the alarm. It was a bit freaky being locked in there – especially for the people with young children.
An easyJet spokeswoman said the plane took off because all the passengers had shown their boarding cards at the gate which indicated they had all boarded.
She explained there was no mandatory requirement for the crew to do a visual head count of the passengers on board. ‘We have launched an investigation to understand what happened and will be offering flight vouchers and a refund of onward travel arrangements from Gatwick as a gesture of goodwill to the affected passengers.’