Expert explains why you're not allowed off the plane if your flight is delayed after boarding
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As the travel chaos continues, people have been forced to stay on the plane after their flight was delayed on the tarmac.
It’s a conundrum many Brits are facing, as flights to and from the UK were grounded on Sunday (28 August) due to a ‘technical issue’ at traffic control.
The chaos is far from over, as National Air Traffic Services operations director, Juliet Kennedy, said 'it will take some time for flights to return to normal'.
There’s a lot of tension right now among travellers, as the long delays and cancellations led have led to some viral moments, including one one video showing passengers arguing with Ryanair staff after being stranded on the Spanish island of Gran Canaria.
As thousands of passengers spent Monday sitting on planes that are stationary, many have been left wondering why they can’t just simply get off.
However, we now have an answer.
Sean Tipton, spokesperson for the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) explained why getting off isn’t as simple as it sounds.
Basically, if there are problems with air traffic control systems, the aircraft is waiting for a slot so it can take off and head to its destination.
The issue at hand is that it’s not clear how long the delay will last at the outset. The length of time until the plane can take off might be an hour, which could then be delayed again.
So, the plane needs to be ready to go as soon as the slot is free but that obviously can’t happen if all the passengers are lounging around somewhere else.
Plus getting everyone off the plane takes time and boarding would need to happen all over again to ensure everyone en route is back in their seats, which could mean that the plane gets delayed again.
“That’s something of a moveable feast,” Tipton told Sky News about waiting for a slot.
“That would cause even longer delays,” he added regarding getting everyone off the plane while waiting for the slot.
Although it’s ‘obviously annoying’ if you’re sat on the plane stationed on the tarmac for hours, but it’s ‘actually for the convenience of passengers’.
Rules in Europe state that passengers must be offered the option to get off the plane if the aircraft as been at a stand-still for five hours, however this length of time is ‘rare’, according to Tipton.
But while the 'technical issue' may have now been resolved, the knock on effect is expected to be quite substantial.
More than 1,200 flights were grounded or delayed throughout Monday, with a further 200 flights already cancelled so far today.