In 2011 passengers on a flight from India to Manchester, U.K. had to pony up cash for fuel when the flight diverted.
The next year an Air France flight bound for Beirut diverted to Damascas and passengers were forced to come up with cash for additional fuel. The pilot couldn’t use a company credit card because of financial sanctions imposed on Syria.
So as insane as it sounds it’s not without precedent that passengers on a Star Alliance member LOT Polish Boeing 787 flight were asked to reach into their pockets to cover repair costs to the plane’s hydraulic pump before a Beijing to Warsaw journey could begin last Monday.
According to the airline’s website they accept the following forms of payment:
In this case though it was cash only. Four passengers coughed up US$360 (some reports say $576) so that the plane, which had been delayed 10 hours, could depart. The loan to the airline was returned to the passengers on arrival in Warsaw. They were also given free tickets (“interest”).
LOT Business Class, credit: LOT Polish
The airline says, yeah, they’ve got no good explanation for how this happened — offering only that their station manager in Beijing “should have cash and credit card with him” for just this kind of thing. On the other hand, why wasn’t the airline’s credit acceptable? What maintenance firms deal only in cash, unless the airline has failed to pay its bills (for which we have no evidence here at this point)?