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Belgians stranded in Canaries after Ryanair revolt

Some 30 Belgian students were stranded on the Canary Islands on Monday after being thrown off a Ryanair flight following a heated argument over a luggage fee, the Belgian foreign ministry said.

The shouting match erupted after a group of passengers refused to pay for oversized luggage at the gate before boarding the flight from Lanzarote to Charleroi airport outside Brussels on Saturday, the low-cost airline said.

Spanish police intervened and ordered all 166 passengers off the plane, Ryanair said in a statement.

The situation escalated and police barred 100 people from getting back on the plane “for security reasons,” the airline said. The other 66 passengers were allowed to fly back three hours later.

“There was a rather violent incident between a crew member and a passenger,” a Belgian foreign ministry spokesman said.

A young woman who was part of the group of students from the University of Brussels said: “A flight attendant lost it and the situation degenerated due to fatigue and the stress.”

Of the 100 who were throw off the plane, 70 have been able to come home by booking new tickets.

The Belgian foreign ministry is helping the remaining 30 passengers find return flights, said ministry spokesman Bart Ouvry.

“We are helping people find flights,” he told AFP, adding that finding space was difficult because of the high season.

Ryanair said it would bring back some of the 100 passengers who remained in Lanzarote on later flights but that individuals who “engaged in disruptive behaviour or refused to follow crew instructions” were banned.

The airline refused to say how many people were barred from boarding Ryanair flights.

Ryanair charges 30 euros ($40) for a first bag on Canary flights and an additional 40 euros for a second bag, according to the company’s website.