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Flight grounded after anxious passengers spot "Jihadi London" WiFi hotspot leaving holidaymakers stranded

Mirror logo Mirror 25/05/2017

Credits: PA © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: PA Holidaymakers were left stranded after their flight was evacuated because of a mobile hotspot named "Jihadi London".

Hundreds of travellers were due to board a Thomson flight from the Mexican tourist resort of Cancun to Gatwick Airport on Tuesday.

But their travel plans were plunged into chaos as the plane was grounded after a passenger spotted the chillingly titled WiFi network name, Get Surrey reports.

Surrey Advertiser sub-editor Carey Middleton was among those held up as a result.

Mrs Middleton, from Guildford, said: "Everyone had boarded and it was all okay for a while but before we left the stand, the captain announced a passenger had told or shown a crew member a 'hot point' had appeared on their phone saying 'Jihadi London'.

"He said he needed to tell us this as it was only on our aircraft and obviously very concerning and he couldn't depart knowing this.

"He asked that if anyone knew anything about this they should come forward.

"Obviously, nobody did so and after another 30 minutes, we'd been on board about an hour by then with passengers getting more anxious, the police came on board."

Mrs Middleton said the captain and crew kept walking back and forth and "everyone was understandably very anxious and worried".

"The captain said he understood a few passengers were very concerned and wanted to get off the plane but to bear with him," she said.

"After about another 20 to 30 minutes, he said the company's security team had security checked all passengers and deemed there was no risk.

"By this time, babies and children were crying and they'd had to refuel the aircraft, etc.

"Although the captain said he wouldn't fly unless he was 100% sure it was safe, and he felt it was okay after the extra security checks, some passengers still wanted to leave.

"As they needed to unload their baggage, this then put the crew over their mandatory hours and we were unable to fly."

Mrs Middleton said the captain told passengers the flight would go ahead the following day [Wednesday] and that there would be extra security in place.

They were told they would be put up overnight.

"It was pretty chaotic in the terminal,"she added. "We had to go back through security, reclaim our baggage and then stand around for 30 minutes or so to wait for instructions, with armed police and what looked like army guys with sniffer dogs in the terminal.

"We eventually got to the hotel at about 9.30pm completely knackered as the flight was due to take off at 4.15pm."

Mrs Middleton was due to take off on Wednesday lunchtime and hoped to arrive back in the UK at about 4am on Thursday (May 25).

"We've had a lovely holiday on the Riviera Maya but will certainly be glad to get home," she added.

Thomson Airways said: "We would like to apologise to our customers who were delayed, due to a potential security concern raised before take-off, on Tuesday May 23 on TOM039 from Cancun to London Gatwick.

"A full security check took place as a precautionary measure on the aircraft and we made arrangements to reschedule the flight and return customers home as quickly as possible."

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