- A Brussels Airline flight to Cameroon had to return due to a technical problem with the plane.
- Some 40 passengers had to spend the night at the airport because they did not have Belgian visas.
- After further delays, they began a sit-in protest blocking the international terminal.
Passengers on a flight from Belgium to Cameroon that had to return to Brussels airport due to a technical problem ended up blocking the international terminal after being stuck there overnight, Aviation24 reported.
About 40 of the 273 passengers on the Brussels Airlines flight did not have a visa for Belgium, which meant they had to spend Wednesday night at the airport.
The chaotic scenes began when they were told on Thursday that the next flight was full, an airport spokesperson told the outlet.
Passengers then began a sit-in protest that blocked access to Terminal B, which handles its international flights.
Aviation24 reported that protesters chanted “voyager” (French for “voyage”) as police tried to defuse the situation.
Frank Luntz, a political consultant who witnessed the scenes, tweeted that “thousands of passengers can’t get to their planes, so the flights can’t board.”
Another witness, Darren McDermott, described the airport as “an absolute disaster” on Thursday. He added that airport staff were taking passengers to the other side of the terminal by bus to get to their gates.
—Darren J. McDermott (@EURASEANEDU) December 8, 2022
—Anthony S (@RealMetman) December 8, 2022
Most of the passengers on the flight had visas and were able to stay in a hotel Wednesday night. Some of them left on Thursday, but others have been delayed for two days.
A Brussels Airlines spokesperson told Insider that all passengers on the canceled SN365 will have departed by Friday after an additional flight was made.
“Visa-free passengers, who were unable to reach our provided hotel accommodation, were assisted by Brussels Airlines in obtaining their transit visa with the authorities,” the airline added.
That meant the protesters were able to stay in a hotel on Thursday night.
“Some passengers left for their destination on yesterday’s flight, the remaining passengers will be able to fly to Douala and Yaoundé today,” the airline said on Friday.
Brussels airport did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.