'Whip-round to persuade passengers to leave plane'

Passengers have claimed they had to have a ‘whip-round’ amongst themselves to collect enough money to persuade four travellers to disembark an aircraft as it was too heavy to take-off.

The easyJet flight to Geneva was due to leave from Liverpool John Lennon Airport at 7.05am on Thursday, reports the Liverpool Echo.

However, the plane was 300kg overweight meaning it could not take-off due to strict regulations, with the airline blaming 'an exceptionally high proportion of male passengers and more hold luggage than usual'.

Four people eventually volunteered to disembark but only, as one man claimed, because passengers decided to pass a collection tin around to persuade them.

Simon Lay, an engineer who was on his way to Geneva for a skiing holiday, said the airline had struggled to find volunteers initially because it was only offering $150 compensation.

"It is ridiculous and embarrassing for easyJet. I was going on a skiing trip with friends and we paid more for the early flight so we could get some more skiing time in,” he told The Daily Mail.

"They announced that the plane was 300kg overweight and the pilot asked for volunteers to get off.

"At first they offered £100 compensation and a Friday flight but nobody wanted that. Then they changed it to a flight from Birmingham the same day. A group at the front of the plane made it up to £200 to persuade four people to get off.

"The rest of the passengers then put a few quid in to help them out. The whip-round certainly happened, I put two quid in. I saw other people throwing in fivers.”

EasyJet insist it is not their policy to allow ‘whiprounds’ and had no knowledge of the collection.

The company said in a statement: “EasyJet can confirm that flight EZY7279 from Liverpool - Geneva was above regulatory weight limits due to an exceptionally high proportion of male passengers and more hold luggage than usual.

“In these circumstances volunteers are required to offload and easyJet offers passengers £100 in compensation and alternative flights. Four volunteers came forward and the flight departed shortly afterwards.

“As far as we can establish no other arrangements between passengers were made. easyJet has policies in place to deal with this situation and so there is no need for passengers to take this kind of action.

“The safety of its passengers and crew is easyJet's highest priority and the airline always complies with all regulations.”

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