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A Flight Was Delayed for 2 Hours Because Off-duty Pilots Demanded First Class Seats

Travel + Leisure logo Travel + Leisure 10/20/2018 Cailey Rizzo
a large passenger jet flying through a cloudy blue sky © J.W.Alker/Getty Images

A Thai Airways flight was delayed two hours last week because two off-duty pilots demanded first class seats while the cabin was completely sold out. The flight was only able to take off after two passengers agreed to bump themselves down to business class.

The airline said in a statement this week that it was sorry for the incident and apologized “to all passengers affected by the unprofessional action that caused the delay,” according to the Bangkok Post.

The Oct. 11 flight from Zurich to Bangkok was scheduled to depart at 1:30 p.m. However, it did not get off the ground until 3:30 p.m., according to Flight Aware. The flight was able to make up some lost time, arriving in Bangkok about 90 minutes later than scheduled.

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The two passengers who downgraded themselves to business, a couple, filed a complaint after the flight, saying that the plane was held “hostage to achieve what they wanted.”

“I apologize to the passengers who were directly affected by the seat change. I take responsibility for the incident," president Sumeth Damrongchaitham said in a statement Thursday night.

According to One Mile at a Time, the passengers who were seated in first class didn’t pay for first class tickets. The cabin on this route is offered as a first-come, first-served upgrade for business class passengers. However, being delayed and then having to move back for demanding pilots still doesn't sound like a pleasant travel experience.

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