‘Near riot’ as fog turns into red mist for Australian duty free shoppers – 15/05/07

AUSTRALIA. A combination of fog and the new duty free security regulations turned into red mist for passengers on a United Airlines flight diverted from Sydney to Brisbane yesterday.

An article in Queensland newspaper The Courier Mail said that the 234 passengers on the 14-hour flight from the US were told they would have to remain in the parked aircraft for a further nine hours – if they wished to retain their duty free.

Initially, the report said, there were no pilots to take the plane back to Sydney. And if passengers disembarked in Brisbane, the country’s new aviation security regulations would mean they would lose their duty free liquids of over 100ml (as they would be treated as transfer passengers).

The report continued: “When passengers protested, the airline and its ground handlers circumvented the law by collecting and labelling liquor bottles and storing it in the aircraft hold. This allowed passengers to disembark but took several hours to arrange and happened after “˜something akin to a riot occurred’ according to one airport worker.

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