Dozens of Easyjet passengers were ordered off a plane and threatened with ARREST if they refused – because the overloaded jet was too heavy to take off.
The flight from Birmingham to Geneva was over-filled with 10 tonnes too much fuel so the captain asked the last 37 customers to board the plane to get off.
When some passengers refused to budge they were informed that three police officers were waiting in the airport terminal and would arrest them if necessary.
But unbeknown to the remaining passengers, their luggage was also removed from the flight to save weight.
They only discovered their bags had been left back in England when they arrived in Switzerland – and some did not received their baggage for another five days.
Red-faced bosses at Easyjet apologised to passengers affected by the bungled Boxing Day trip and promised to investigate.
Grandmother Jane Webb, 65, was on board flight EZY1496 with a nine-strong party including her two daughters and four grandchildren who were heading for a skiing holiday in Saint Gervais, France.
She told how the packed plane sat on the runway for half-an-hour before the captain announced he had some ”bad news”
”He said they had over-fuelled the plane by 10 tonnes of fuel and that he was going to have to ask around 37 passengers to get off,” she said.
”He offered #100 and overnight accommodation to anyone who offered to get off – but when pressed they could not guarantee a next day flight to Geneva.
”About seven or eight people offered to give up their seats, but they then decided that the last 20 odd people to get off the plane would be those who checked in last.
”We were lucky because we had checked in early. But there was a couple of young girls in front of us and they were dreadfully upset.
”They asked the crew what would happen if they didn’t get off – and were told there were three policeman waiting for them outside and they would be forced off.
”I felt awfully sorry for them. I’ve never experienced anything like it before.”
But Mrs Webb was horrified when she touched down in Geneva four hours late and discovered her baggage was back in Birmingham.
The biomedical scientist and her family had to wait five days before they eventually got their vital holiday bags – the day before they flew back to the UK.
Mrs Webb said: ”We had to buy all the essentials out in France – including thermal underwear and snow boots.
”Easyjet has said it will pay us #25 a day for every day we didn’t have our baggage.
”But it was such an inconvenience. The whole thing was a farce.”
Easyjet apologised to all passengers affected on the flight and said an investigation into the incident was still ongoing.
A spokesman said: “We’d like to sincerely apologise to the passengers affected by the weight restrictions on the flight from Birmingham, resulting in some passengers and bags being offloaded.
”The cause of the weight restriction was due to a fuelling error which resulted in the aircraft taking on too much fuel, and therefore being too heavy for take off when fully loaded.
”An investigation has been launched to understand how this happened.”