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Ryanair passengers' fury at £3.50 compensation after RAF fighter jets escort plane diverted over "bomb threat"

Mirror logo Mirror 05/10/2017 Andy Lines
Credits: Andy Longhurst / @AndyLonghurstUK © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Credits: Andy Longhurst / @AndyLonghurstUK

Ryanair passengers weren't impressed after being offered £3.50 "refreshment vouchers" as compensation following a mid-air "bomb threat" that left them terrified.

RAF fighter jets escorted the Boeing 737 into Stansted airport as the nerve-wracking ordeal unfolded on a flight from Lithuania.

Credits: PA © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Credits: PA After the plane landed safely, passengers posted photos online of the unbranded A4 vouchers that were handed out while they were stranded at the airport.

The voucher gives them £3.50, or five euro, worth of credit for non-alcoholic drinks and snacks.

One passenger who posted a photo of the voucher on Twitter didn't seem impressed, adding an "unamused face" emoji to his post.

Credits: Twitter © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Credits: Twitter

The voucher reads: "This voucher may be used to purchase non-alcoholic beverages and snacks to a maximum value of €5 or £3.50 sterling."

They were handed to travellers forced to remain airside during security checks after their flight from Lithuania to Luton Airport was intercepted by 1,500mph Typhoon military jets.

Credits: Andy Longhurst / @AndyLonghurstUK © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Credits: Andy Longhurst / @AndyLonghurstUK One passenger offered a voucher wrote: "Stuck on a bus&can't leave no communication saying what's going on but it's ok @Ryanair gave us £3.50 for food."

He added the "unamused" emoji.

Another Twitter user wrote: "Hats off as ever to @Ryanair handing out food vouchers with a maximum value of £3.50 to passengers stuck at Stansted. Presume those in charge have never tried to buy food at an airport before."

Credits: JZ / @zulu_wooloo © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Credits: JZ / @zulu_wooloo

Passengers described feeling "helpless" as Luton Airport was placed on "lockdown" and emergency services descended on the scene.

Travellers - including children and a man on crutches - were pictured being led away from flight FR2145 by armed police after it had landed, while sniffer dogs were deployed.

Credits: JZ / @zulu_wooloo © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Credits: JZ / @zulu_wooloo All flights in and out of Stansted were grounded while the plane from Lithuania was brought to ground, having been due to land in Luton.

Passenger Jonathan Zulberg told Mirror Online: "I was the first seat on the plane. We were told we were being diverted then I heard the air stewardess speaking.

"I asked what happened and was informed that a bomb threat was made on the plane. We were delayed getting on the plane in Kaunas by about 30 to 40 mins.

"I saw fire engines and police on tarmac but wasn’t told anything till we were coming into land in Stansted.

"Apparently threat was made while we were still in Kaunas."

Credits: Andy Longhurst / @AndyLonghurstUK © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Credits: Andy Longhurst / @AndyLonghurstUK

When asked to expand on the claims the bomb threat was made while they were still in Lithuania and how other passengers reacted, he said: "They didn’t announce it to everyone until we landed.

"When she told me I told her I preferred that I had not known."

Mr Zulberg added there was "no outright panic" on board but admitted there was a "feeling of helplessness".

Ryanair claimed the alert on flight FR2145 was due to a "suspected hoax security alert" received by Lithuanian authorities.

The plane landed at 8.55am and police said nothing suspicious was found following a search of the aircraft.

An RAF spokesman said: "The RAF can confirm quick reaction alert Typhoon aircraft were launched this morning from RAF Coningsby to intercept a civilian aircraft.

"The aircraft was safely escorted to Stansted airport. The Typhoon aircraft were authorised to transit at supersonic speed for operational reasons; any inconvenience caused to local residents is regretted."

Credits: @waldenscratch/Twitter © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Credits: @waldenscratch/Twitter

A spokesman for Ryanair, responding to claims that the flight took off despite claims a bomb was on it, said: "This flight from Kaunas to London Luton was delayed ahead of take-off after Lithuanian authorities received a suspected hoax security alert.

"Police carried out a security search and cleared the aircraft to return to service, customers boarded and the flight departed to Luton.

"While on approach to Luton, upon the request of UK authorities, the aircraft diverted to London Stansted in line with security procedures, and landed normally at Stansted, where customers disembarked and were transferred to Luton by coach.

"Local police carried out a further search and cleared the aircraft to resume service once more."

© Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Stansted was put on "lockdown" amid the security alert, eyewitnesses said.

Flight trackers show the aircraft circled several times over the North Sea before heading into the UK.

Jason Maerz, 25, who works at Stansted, said: “I just arrived and parked my car and as I got out, six or seven police cars came through the security gates.

“They were heading round past the cargo point and there were two Eurofighter jets flying overhead. One was circling quite high and the other was quite low down to the ground.

“Everything seems to be normal inside the terminal. What’s going on is past the cargo area not actually at the airport terminal itself.”

Credits: PA Wire © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Credits: PA Wire Chief Inspector Richard Phillibrown, from Essex Police, said in a statement: "We take all intelligence received regarding potential threats to public safety very seriously."

A National Air Traffic Services spokeswoman said claims London airspace was closed are "absolutely not true".

The Ministry of Defence confirmed they had scrambled jets from RAF Coningsby after a request to intercept a civilian airliner.

Stansted airport in Essex is the default airport for any security threat, however, the airport remained open during the incident.

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