Ryanair passenger on 'nightmare' East Midlands Airport flight says she 'feared the worst'

View onto runway with fire engines from plane window with grass on left and grey cloudy skies, as well as flights in distance
-Credit: (Image: Cindy Morley)


A passenger on board the Ryanair flight which was met by fire engines on the runway when it landed says she "feared the worst". Cindy, from Nottingham, was on her way back home after a weekend in Rome on Ryanair's 10.40am flight from Italy's capital to East Midlands Airport.

But there was a "flap indicator error" on the flight, which led to its scheduled landing being aborted and the plane circling for half an hour, before being met by fire engines on the runway when it did arrive. Cindy says that passengers were not told what was happening, leading to worry on board.

She said: "I was calm on the outside but inside I was very worried. It's something you dread. There are lots of scenarios running through your head. Other people were looking very worried. But no-one was making any noise. The plane was eerily quiet."

The flight had been running smoothly, Cindy, who was sitting in a middle seat in row 14, says. It was scheduled to come in around twenty minutes ahead of time, and the plane began to descend as usual around ten minutes before landing.

But as it was about to land and just 900ft above the runway - less than the height of the Eiffel Tower - the plane turned up and the aircraft began to climb again, quickly regaining height. The cabin crew announced that the pilot had decided not to land and passengers were told to await further instruction, Cindy says.

She explained: "Expressions of passengers changed at that point. You could sense worry. The announcement was very vague and minimal. I've been on flights which couldn't land due to turbulence or wind, when the issue has been obvious, but this time, the weather seemed fine and it didn't seem there was a reason not to land apart from a fault with the plane. That was pretty scary."

Passengers were not given any information for the next half an hour, before the pilot announced there was a "technical fault" and that the plane would land in 10 minutes time. It was twenty minutes, however, before cabin crew were asked to return to their seats again and the second descent started, Cindy says.

As they approached, she says she could see that the A453 had been closed off - which she believes was to create a space in front of the runway in case they didn't make it to the runway. Pilot and aviation expert Chris Lomas from Flightradar24 explained that an issue with "flap indicators" - which Leicestershire Fire & Rescue Service says the emergency call was explained as - would "affect the speed the approach can be flown at, and therefore the landing distance required."

Cindy said: "It was worrying because we didn't know what to expect the landing to be like and we could see emergency vehicles with blue lights on coming towards the plane. We landed at an unusual angle with the nose of the plane pointing upward."

Despite the fault, the landing was ultimately safe and uneventful. Cindy says it was a "massive relief" and that passengers applauded.

Firefighters appeared to attend to the underside of the cabin but passengers were allowed to disembark within minutes and were thanked for their patience. No other information was provided, however, as to what had gone on.

A spokesperson for Ryanair said: “This flight from Rome to East Midlands (10 June) experienced a minor technical issue before landing normally at East Midlands Airport. Passengers disembarked normally and the aircraft was subsequently inspected by our engineers in accordance with established procedures.”