‘It was just chaotic’: Flight Attendant in Holland describes gateless delay

Air India flight attendant Ruta­nah Lema saw about half of the passengers in the terminal clutching luggage, and the other half stranded on an airplane in the Dutch city.

“Then the security guys jumped out with their heavy sticks, and we just went flying around,” Lema recalled in a Skype call from the plane.

“It was just chaotic,” she said, adding: “We thought it was the end.”

Even the officers in uniform, dressed in red uniforms, were distraught, she said. “They took their red shirts off and they didn’t have any black shirts.”

The continuing delays were the result of an air traffic control error during rush hour at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, which is Europe’s third-busiest airport.

Air India Flight 3601 was scheduled to fly from Amsterdam to New Delhi at 1:50 p.m. on April 24. The unexpected shift in the schedule occurred when the Dutch national air traffic control authority transferred the flight to a nearby air base. The airline’s paperwork also didn’t have time to register with the new channel, officials said.

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