Air passengers forced to pay gas bill

Friday, April 12, 2013

Hundreds of passengers were forced to cover the fuel bill for their flight because Comtel Air ran out of funds. The Austrian airline Comtel Air had a refueling stopover in Vienna, but apparently they didn't have the money to pay for it! This story dates back to 2011, but it is not often you come across a story this incredible – so we just had to post it.

The British passengers were travelling from Amritsar in India to Birmingham, and were told during the stopover that the money had completely run out. So Comtel Air simply wasn't able to pay the bill. The flight crew informed the passengers that the only way the trip could be resumed was if the bill would somehow be paid. Mind you, this wasn't just any minor gas bill: the full amount was a whopping 23,000 euros (19,535 pounds)! If the passengers wouldn't be able to come up with a way of paying this amount, the luggage compartment would be emptied, and the aircraft would stay grounded, as the airport wouldn't allow the plane to leave.

After six hours of uncertainty, police officers were called to the scene and the passengers were escorted to ATMs. But the machines ran out of cash also, resulting in the passengers not being able to come up with the total amount of the bill. The passengers eventually signed a written statement, promising to fulfill the remaining sum upon arrival at their destination.

A similar case was reported to have occurred in India: 600 of Comtel Air's passengers were allegedly stranded there for the same reason. Further details weren't revealed about this incident however.

The airline normally only operates on executive flights; the India-Vienna route was the first commercial flight for the carrier. And as we know now, it wasn't exactly what you would call a huge success..