Passengers flying from Southend to Malaga last week with easyJet spent an hour on the tarmac, while cabin crew arranged for volunteers to get off the flight. Crew members announced that the plane was too heavy to take off in current wind conditions, so they needed people to volunteer to leave the plane.
The Sun on Sunday reported that crew members offered £250 compensation to any volunteers, and ten people were persuaded to give up their seats. Passengers claimed that there had been plenty of volunteers, but that they seemed to have been chosen at random, without regard for their weight or whether they had any luggage - leaving remaining passengers concerned as to how they could be sure this would reduce the weight of the plane by the right amount.
The Daily Mail quoted a spokesperson who said: "Like all airlines, we calculate weight using high average estimates for males and females, along with 20kg baggage. In line with EU rules, the passengers who did not travel on the flight were offered £250 compensation and a transfer on to an alternative flight to Malaga. easyJet would like to apologise to the passengers for the delay to their journey."
It's an unusual reason for a flight delay, but reasons why planes couldn't take off or land can be far weirder than this. Here are five of our favourites.
1. In 1982 a man in Los Angeles attached helium-filled balloons to a deckchair and floated over LAX at 16,000 feet. All flights and traffic had to be halted until the man was gently brought to ground.
2. In 2012 on a flight from Istanbul to New York, a man decided to use the shaver socket in the bathroom to recharge his phone. It was discovered by another passenger, who informed the cabin crew that there was a bomb in the toilets. The plane was forced to make an emergency landing at Dublin Airport; it was diverted to a quiet part of the airport and experts were called in. Once they had spotted the fact it was just a phone on charge, they allowed the plane to continue to New York
3. In 2011 a Whippet going for a run near Manchester Airport managed to slip past staff at the cargo entrance and dash onto the runway. Staff spent 40 minutes chasing it across the grounds, delaying dozens of flights, and forcing one to divert to Birmingham.
4. Last September a Lufthansa flight from Stockholm to Frankfurt was forced to land in Copenhagen after passengers started to worry about a smell filling the cabin. Maintenance staff checked the plane, and discovered a new carpet was to blame.
5. One of the most famous flight delay tales is also one of the most widely disputed. In 1993 it was widely reported that Bill Clinton had a haircut aboard Airforce One at Los Angeles airport. The haircut was said to have delayed his flight by an hour, which pushed back all flights from the airport for an hour as a result.
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