Dozens of angry passengers blocked portions of the passenger terminal at Brussels Airport after a flight cancellation left them stranded and unable to leave the transit area.
Passengers Blockade Terminal In Anger Over Brussels Airlines Flight Cancellation
Brussels Airlines flight SN369 was heading from Brussels (BRU) toward Douala (DLA) and Yaounde (NSI), both in Cameroon, when a technical issue forced the aircraft to return to Brussels.
Upon landing, passengers were informed that the flight was canceled and a new flight would not depart until the following day. Not only did this represent an untimely delay for those onboard, but for many passengers an even-greater problem: without a visa to enter Belgium, they were stuck in the non-Schengen gate area at Brussels Airport.
Although Brussels Airlines brought food and tried to arrange transit visas, a large group of passengers staged a protest by blocking the terminal area from others.
Picture it like this: at Brussels Airport, the Schengen and non-Schengen area of Terminal B is divided by passport control booths in the middle of the terminal. Once you proceed past those booths, you are out of the country.
Standing just past the booths, passengers formed a barricade that prevented other passengers traveling to other international non-Schengen destinations from reaching their gates.
The result, not surprisingly, was a mess:
#BrusselsAirport is an absolute mess today. According to staff the passengers of a flight that was due to leave last night have blockaded #GateB with a sit-down protest. To their credit airport staff are bussing passengers to other side of the terminal to get to their gates. pic.twitter.com/TduW2xJjoT
— Darren J. McDermott (@EURASEANEDU) December 8, 2022
Political protests at Brussels Airport have shut down the entire international terminal.
Thousands of passengers cannot get to their planes, and so flights cannot board. pic.twitter.com/C6BD6Qjott
— Frank Luntz (@FrankLuntz) December 8, 2022
During the protest, some passengers were bussed to the other end of the non-Schengen area in a way that bypassed protestors, but many flights were delayed.
Addressing the incident, Brussels Airlines told Aviation24.be:
“Flight SN369 to Douala had to return to Brussels on December 7 for technical reasons. Brussels Airlines has done its utmost to offer passengers a solution as soon as possible. There were 273 passengers on board, of which about 40 did not have a visa for the Belgian territory and therefore had to spend the night at the airport.
“The other passengers who were able to leave the airport spent the night at the hotel. Part of the passengers was able to fly to their destination on today’s flight. Other passengers will be able to fly tomorrow. Passengers without a visa flying tomorrow were offered assistance to obtain transit visas in order to offer them a hotel for the night.”
An extra segment, SN1379, operated from Brussels to Cameroon on Friday morning.
Flight delays are hard and become much more difficult when you are trapped in a gate area and unable to leave. I find Brussels Airport one of the most depressing and uncomfortable major airports in Europe and so I can sympathize with the passengers. Even so, such conduct is simply not constructive: it did not help in any way. On the contrary, it only hurt others.
image: Twitter / @FrankLuntz
It clearly was not a political protest. I sympathize with those stranded. Society is largely dysfunctional world wide.
Brussels airport in the past has had issues with security at transit points IME. We were in a “line” where everyone was bypassing the line because they were going to miss their flight but almost everyone was in the same situation due to weather issues. Chaotic and not a single security/airline person was around to do anything.
No, it was political and Trump or Biden (take your pick) is to blame.
You think Brussels is depressing, can you imagine having to fly to Cameroon for anyreason?
Fyi they were in a holding pattern for hours in the air! Crazy then to be stuck in the airport I don’t blame them one bit!
Normally I think these types of stunts are unproductive but seeing how the LH group has been acting lately, like with their Angola diversion recently where pax were just rebooked on existing segments up to 2 weeks in the future, I highly doubt they would’ve operated an extra segment to Cameroon or helped the passengers get transit visas in the absence of this “protest”.
Normal Brussels Airlines service then, utter chaos.
It’s one of two *A carriers I will never fly with.
Which is the other?
Take your pick. I’m a *A fanboy, yet I would never under any circumstances fly EgyptAir or South African Airways.
The idiotic pax who pulled this stunt are ntohing more tha criminals and ought to be treated as such.
Why don’t the police go in, arrest and put these retards on the do-not-fly list ?
Wow just passed through there today on the way to Kigali. That same thing happened some years ago on a flight out of there to Lome. A lot of Africans were stuck in the airport overnight because they did have a visa. It was a mess.
Oops I screwed up . But you stay up all night here in the cold dank terminal, don’t worry we will send some hamburger s your way. But I need to go home , have a nice meal, sleep in my cozy bed and have a fine breakfast. An when I am refreshed we will send you on your way.
We simply cannot be inconvenienced by making a special flight to your destination. Yaun.
Just flew through Brussels two days prior to that. The non-Schengen area and the lounges were packed. The design of the gate areas leads to crowding when the flights are boarding. Having the moving walkway in the middle only makes things worse. Not my favorite airport.
Brussels- the center of bureaucracy and red tape for Europe. Somehow I’m not surprised at the discombobulated state of affairs at the airport
Even Brussels Airlines FA’s are remarkably annoying nuisances. Once I slammed the toilet door a tad to hard after waiting 10 minutes for the FA’s to stop gossiping behind the curtain and open the aft section for pax to use the facilities (i.e. do their f***ing jobs), and was promptly reprimanded in public by a particularly snarky female FA. Ofcourse this was not well received by me, so I reprimanded the now somewhat less confident FA (formerly know as a service person) back tenfold.