Passengers Forced to Stand on Sold-Out Flight
The overcrowded Tatarstan Airlines jet took off with the half-dozen passengers standing in the aisles, reports the UK's Daily Mail.
The passengers remained standing except when the plane hit turbulence, at which point they sat in the aisles. They did not have seat belts. They also did not have access to oxygen masks or life vests in the event of an emergency.
Tatarstan Airlines is not denying the incident occurred, and says it is investigating, as are airline regulators, the Mail reports.
The flight from Antalya to Ekaterinburg, Russia's fourth largest city, was supposed to be on a 148-seat aircraft, but a 142-seat Boeing 737 was substituted just before take-off.
Crew suggested passengers put kids on their laps to make room, but the kids were too big.
"The adults had no choice but to fly standing for five hours," one passenger tells the Mail.
Angry passengers are demanding about $4,700 each in compensation for the incident, which reportedly occurred on Sept. 24. The tour company that booked many on the flight, Anex-Tour, reportedly offered them only about $205.
An Anex-Tour spokeswoman defended the carrier saying the passengers could have waited for a later flight, and instead chose to do standing-room on the plane.
"People had a choice to fly on that plane standing up, or wait seven hours for another plane," says Evgenia Fedorova. "All the tourists decided to fly back despite uncomfortable conditions."
Photo, bortescristian, flickr