PALMA, Spain – Tourists refused to board a plane on Spain’s Majorca island after being told to sit in the back “to help balance the jet,” The Daily Mail reported Tuesday.
The more than 70 passengers had been asked to become human ballast because a door in the rear hold was jammed, forcing all the luggage to be put in the forward hold, the British newspaper said — the plane had become nose heavy.
The newspaper said panic broke out ahead of the flight to Newcastle, England. The flight was booked by travel agency Thomas Cook.
Thomas Cook told The Daily Mail reallocating seats to balance a plane is routine.
New passengers were deterred from getting on the plane by arriving passengers who warned them not to, the newspaper said.
Like others, Dave Charlton, of Blyth, England, paid for another flight home for himself, his wife and their 6-year-old son after seeing arrivals getting off the plane.
“People were kissing the ground and putting their hands together like they were praying,” he told the newspaper. “They said that at first they thought it was turbulence, but that it must have been because the weight distribution was wrong. There were girls sobbing and children crying. When people are getting off the plane saying, ‘Don’t get on’ and we’d been told there was a fault with it, there was no way we would get on.”