Delayed Due To No-Fly List Passengers

February 19, 2010

in Delay/Cancellation Stories

In July of 2005, I was on an Air France flight from Charles de Gaulle, or however it’s spelled. Anyway, I was 17 and coming home from a wonderful 3 week tour of France, Germany, and Austria. Unfortunately, the return home was muddled up a bit, as the London tube bombings occurred two days before we were supposed to fly home. Needless to say, security at the airport was heightened, which I appreciate.

When we got onto the tarmac, another delay occurred due to mechanical problems with the aircraft. It was a relatively short delay, only about an hour. After that we were able to take off. I rarely sleep on flights, but I was exhausted and fell asleep.

I woke up to one of the college chaperons tapping me on the shoulder. He asked “Have you ever been to the British Isles, cause that’s where we’re going.” I looked on the LCD screen in front of me and changed it to the map (A360’s are sweet). Sure enough, the red line following the aircraft had quite the sheppard’s hook, and the aircraft was facing Ireland. Just then, an announcement came over the intercom, but was in French (I only spoke English, German, and a touch of Russian). After the announcement finished, there was much excited talking amongst the French passengers, which understandably made myself and the 19 other Americans I was traveling with wary. Thankfully, one of a group of French students we had befriended during the tarmac delay promptly explained to me that there were four men on the flight that were on the no-fly list, and we had to return to Paris to kick ’em off.

Now, I have never been fearful of a Frenchman, but after landing in Paris, four agents of the French GIGN (hardcore government police, think US Marshalls mixed with Delta Force) came onto the aircraft. All were over 6 feet tall, wearing tactical fatigues that were all black save the GIGN insignia. All I could see on their belts were their sidearms. I could see no cuffs, batons, OC spray, flashlights, gloves, or other equipment. They might have been on their other hips, but all I could see were the firearms. These guys were serious. I had an aisle seat and they walked right by me. They escorted four men off.

We all had to disembark, and we had to wait in the terminal for all luggage to be taken off, the plane to be restocked and refueled. We had to go outside, visually ID our luggage, and then get back on the aircraft. Over 13 hours of delay, without weather being a factor.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

chris February 23, 2010 at 10:09 pm

OK I have a question here…..shouldnt those 4 who are a no-fly list, been found out BEFORE they boarded the plane and it took off….not after……isnt that kinda too late??


prsnfd March 19, 2010 at 3:09 pm

I call BS….they had 4 people on the No Fly List and they annouced that?? really? why to give a chance for the 4 guys to take action….or maybe to just freak the passengers out!


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