Yesterday I flew from Amsterdam to Prague on the 2:30pm flight, scheduled to arrive around 4pm.
Boarding began on time. This being Amsterdam, you don’t just walk out of the gate onto the plane – there’s a bus that takes you from the gate out to the plane. So, we all got on the bus, and got on the plane. No trouble.
At this point (unbeknownst to all of the passengers) one passenger calls a flight attendant over and reports that the bag which he/she has boarded with is not, in fact, his/her bag.
This started a chain of events from which there was no escape, due to both airline and federal policy.
A full security sweep of the plane was ordered, which involved everyone getting off of the plane. There was quite a bit of confusion – I assume they were trying to avoid panicking anybody, and so communication was slow? – but eventually we all got off of the plane, and back onto the buses. After sitting on the bus for a while, we started to drive around the plane parking area, making several loops.
At one point, the driver told us that the pilot had been arrested, and later that a passenger had been arrested. Neither one of these turned out to be true.
Finally, the driver got word that we had to go back to the terminal, and so we headed that direction, only to turn back a minute or two later with new instructions. Back at the plane, we sat for a while, and then did in fact go back to the terminal, where we were issued new boarding passes for the rescheduled flight, now scheduled for 5:30pm. We also received a generous 5 Euro voucher for dinner. (Yes, that was sarcastic. That won’t even get you a sandwich at Schiphol.)
Meanwhile, the flight crew exceeded its mandatory maximum on-the-clock time, and were relieved of duty, so the 5:30 flight was cancelled. Fortunately, there was a KLM plan and crew with nothing to do, and they picked up the flight.
Throughout this entire process, various passengers were loudly demanding more information! Answers! Explanations! None of which in any way helped things along. Others offered advice as to how to handle the situation, which was equally unhelpful, since a procedure was being observed, which wasn’t open to improvisation.
What remains a mystery is why the passenger waited until we were all on board to notify someone that he/she had the wrong bag.