Passengers on a LOT Polish Airlines flight scheduled to depart from China were asked to fork over cash to pay for replacing a pump when the mechanic refused to accept electronic payment for the emergency repair part. The carrier says passengers’ money was returned to them promptly after reaching their final destination.
Passengers on a LOT Polish Airlines flight received some bad news when they learned their flight from Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) to Warsaw Frederic Chopin Airport (WAW) would be delayed for several hours because a faulty hydraulic pump needed to be replaced. Things got even worse when flyers learned they would need to foot the bill for the repairs with the cash they had on-hand.
The Daily Mail reports the problem wasn’t that the flag carrier of Poland was short on funds, but that the mechanic demanded cash for the part and would not accept the traditional forms of electronic payment. According to the airline, the flyers, some of whom were eager to pony-up in the name of getting back home as soon as possible, were repaid when the flight landed in Poland about 10 hours behind schedule.
LOT officials were not especially pleased that crew members took it upon themselves to pass the hat around the cabin. The airline quickly apologized when news of the unorthodox fundraising campaign came to light.
“An employee at the Boeing warehouse in Beijing refused to accept a bank transfer and insisted on cash,” an airline spokesperson told the newspaper. “There are no circumstances that justify asking money from passengers.”
The airline says that, in addition to quickly making good on IOUs, passengers on the flight were offered more than $650 in compensation along with flight vouchers. The employee responsible is said to have been disciplined for the unauthorized panhandling at the gate.
Although not exactly commonplace, this isn’t the first time passengers have been asked to cough up cash to help get a commercial airline flight in the air. In 2012, Air France passengers were asked to help pay for fuel after a flight was forced to make an unscheduled stop in war-torn Syria. A year earlier, Birmingham Airport (BHX)-bound Comtel Air passengers were asked to come up with $30 each to pay for fuel during a stop at Vienna International Airport (VIE).