A BARNSLEY couple found themselves on ‘Flight from Hell’ after a terror scare at 30,000ft saw RAF jets following their plane before jumping on board – in full SWAT gear – as they landed.
Alice Portman, 19, from Barugh Green, and boyfriend Jake Robinson were traveling to Manchester from Dalaman in Turkey last week – but unbeknownst to them, their flight was being tracked by the RAF.
“We landed earlier than we thought but everything seemed fine,” Alice told the Chronicle.
“We had no idea we were in Stansted.
“When we landed my friend said he could see blue flashing lights but I didn’t think anything of it.
“We got to a stop where there were no buildings, so I figured we’d have to catch a bus.
“Back then the police were in SWAT gear, balaclavas and with guns on all edges of the plane.
“The pilot told us we were in Stansted and everyone was confused.”
Those on the plane had absolutely no idea what was going on — and it wasn’t until they scoured social media that they realized what was actually happening.
Two RAF jets were forced to intercept the Jet2 aircraft due to a “security threat on board”.
The plane was intercepted by two RAF Typhoons from RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire, forced to turn back in mid-air and then escorted to London Stansted Airport, where up to 220 passengers were held while armed police searched the plane.
“Social media knew a lot more than we did,” she added.
“It really made me panic.
“It was frustrating because we weren’t told anything.
“We were on the plane for about two and a half hours before we were allowed to disembark.”
A spokesman for Essex Police said: “We were conducting a security operation where a Jet2 flight from Dalaman to Manchester was diverted to London Stansted Airport on Wednesday 12 October.
“Just before 9 p.m. we received a report of a potential threat on board the flight.
“It was escorted to Stansted Airport where it landed safely and was parked outside the main passenger terminal.
“While investigations were being conducted, the runway was briefly closed.
“Officials were then able to determine that there was no threat on board.
“Then the onward journey was organized for the passengers and the runway was released again.”
Detectives have said a man in his 30s was arrested, adding the fear is being treated as a hoax.
Unfortunately for Alice, her nightmare ordeal wasn’t over yet.
After being told Jet2 will provide buses, taxis and hotels for those in need, they had to wait in a “mile-long” queue for two hours.
“I was really surprised by the aftercare — there was little to nothing,” she added.
“We were all very shocked.
“A lady behind me had a panic attack – and I think everyone was on the verge of having one, but no one asked if we were okay.
“We had to fend for ourselves”
After waiting in line for what appeared to be an eternity, the couple were told there was no bus and taxis were limited to take them home.
They were forced to pay more than £600 – which they were assured they could reclaim – to return to Barnsley.
A Jet2 spokesman said: “We would like to apologize to everyone on board for any inconvenience or upset caused by this unforeseen incident.
“We are aware that authorities have been made aware of a potential security threat, but have downgraded it and declared the incident closed.”