150 Flyers Got Kicked off a Plane so This President Could Get to the UN

Sep 25, 2018

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

When passengers on Middle East Airlines Flight 308 from Beirut (BEY) to Cairo (CAI) boarded their flight on Sunday, nothing seemed out of the ordinary. However, that was quickly about to change when the roughly 150 passengers were deplaned. Instead of transporting paying passengers, the plane was abruptly assigned to carry Lebanese President Michel Aoun to New York for the United Nations General Assembly.

The aircraft’s paying passengers, who had already boarded, were forced to disembark. As a result, passengers were stuck at BEY for nine hours, according to Al-Arabiya. In addition, the swap reportedly caused delays to other flights.

Middle East Airlines apologized to passengers who were affected by the last-minute swap, saying the situation was “beyond its control.” The airline said passengers were placed on an alternative flight, departing from Beirut for Cairo at 9:18pm local time — a delay of eight hours and 53 minutes.

Auon typically uses the airline’s jets for his international trips. His office issued a statement on Monday, saying that presidential arrangements for trips “have not changed for tens of years,” and also noting that the situation was “the responsibility of the party organizing air traffic.”

The President's route from Beirut to New York.
The President’s route from Beirut to New York.

Nevertheless, the incident caused backlash on social media, with people furious of the airline’s decision to deplane passengers.

The aircraft that eventually transported passengers was an A330-200.

Featured image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X points on dining and 2x points on travel, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
Regular APR
16.24% - 23.24% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.