A Ryanair plane bound for Charleroi-Brussels-South left around 20 passengers at Carcassonne airport.
The passengers say they were on time for the flight which took off on November 24, and have criticised the poor organisation at the airport.
The airline initially said that the travellers arrived too late but have now also cited “security delays.”
Important occasions missed
Amongst the stranded passengers Christelle was due to accompany her son to the Brussels Children's Hospital on Monday 27 November for chemotherapy for cancer.
"Last week was the controllers' strike but this was just unacceptable,” Christelle told La Depeche.
“During the checks, numerous staff were behaving incompetently. They asked us to take off our shoes three times, they laughed among themselves, bickered and wasted a lot of time.
“Then when we followed the queue with everyone else, we were told that the pilot did not want to take us."
Another affected passenger, Nicole from Perpignan, was supposed to be in Belgium the following morning for her daughter's wedding. Like Christille, she says she arrived at the airport on time.
"I arrived here at 14:00 and the plane took off at 15:10. I was not late, no one was late," Nicole said. "What am I going to do, you cannot postpone a wedding."
She said only every other security carousel was working, making access to boarding longer.
"When we tried to go through the doors, they told us it was too late," she says, "They talk about a lack of staff. I would understand if there were just two of us, but there were 20 of us."
Issues also caused by security delays
Ryanair’s response is that the plane left as scheduled and that it is each passenger’s responsibility to make sure they are at the gate on time. Airlines and airports advise arriving two hours before departure time.
“It is standard procedure to close boarding gates on time to ensure an on-time departure. It is each passenger’s responsibility to ensure that they present at the gate before it closes,” a representative for the airport told The Connexion.
“This flight from Carcassonne to Brussels Charleroi departed as scheduled carrying 150 passengers who presented to the boarding gate on-time.”
The airline added that “due to security delays at Carcassonne Airport, several passengers missed this flight.”
Many of these travellers were reported to have had prohibited items in their luggage, such as perfumes over 100ml.
Ryanair said that all travellers who missed the flight “were assisted with booking on the next available flight from Carcassonne to Brussels Charleroi.”