Portuguese among furious Air France passengers “kidnapped” in Manchester

It was supposed to be a normal flight, but ended up being reminiscent of a kidnap ordeal, a furious Portuguese passenger has complained.

Passengers who boarded an Air France flight from New York to Paris at the weekend told Lusa news agency how they were held captive in their plane for six hours and then in a police-guarded room at Manchester Airport after their plane stopped off in the UK – allegedly due to “technical issues”.

The delay left the 440 passengers completely in the dark.

“First we were told it was technical issues,” Portuguese Mauro Sengo told Lusa.

“An hour later they told us we couldn’t take off because they didn’t have the authorisation, and then it was because the doors weren’t closing.”

Sengo and fellow travellers were then taken to a room in the airport “guarded by police officers”.

It felt like they were all being held hostage, he complained.

The passengers were finally loaded onto three rescue flights to Charles de Gaulle Airport at around midnight.

French airline Air France has since shed some light on the upset, explaining that the flight crew was in danger of exceeding its maximum allowable working hours if the plane continued on its route to France.

In a statement, it said: “Air France fully understands that its customers are frustrated by this situation. Throughout these incidents, Air France has done everything it could to limit the inconvenience while ensuring that passengers and crew remained safe.

“Air France will very soon be contacting passengers to offer them compensation,” the airline added.

“This will be addressed as a matter of priority,” it promised.