There were reports of passengers being sick and of fights breaking out as one British Airways worker tried to deal with more than 300 passengers at the baking-hot Riyadh airport.
Boeing 747 first had to turn back to Riyadh on Wednesday due to a problem with the wing flaps. Then when the same plane took off yesterday following repairs the same problem reoccurred and the aircraft had to fly back to Riyadh.
One passenger, Dean Jones, told the MailOnline that in the terminal at Riyadh there was “mayhem” as just one British Airways worker tried to deal with more than 300 passengers while other ground crew “hid’ in a back office.
He went on: “Fights broke out and the military turned up. We were furious they put us back up in the plane when they knew there was a serious problem. British Airways customer relations have been useless.”
Mr Jones said that on the first return to Riyadh “there was screaming and crying and we hit the runway with a massive bang”.
He said passengers had to make their own way to accommodation, before being told to return to the airport at 3am for a flight on the same plane that eventually took off at 8.45am.
Around 30 minutes in, the wing flap problem recurred. Mr Jones said: ‘”This time people were even more frightened. Women were crying. People were being sick.”’
An airlines spokesman said today: “We apologise to customers for their experience, and we sent a replacement aircraft to fly them to the UK”.
“Our customer service teams are contacting customers directly to offer compensation, expenses and complimentary tickets as a gesture of goodwill.
“The safety of our customers and crew is always our first concern and due to a technical problem, the decision was taken to return the aircraft to Riyadh.“Our crew and customer service teams did everything they could to care for customers, and we provided overnight hotel accommodation.”