Jet turned back to pick up golf clubs

Passenger outrage as clubs left at airport

Bob Warters's picture
Mon, 4 Feb 2002
Jet turned back to pick up golf clubs

Jimmy Tarbuck is one of our best-loved comedians but his popularity dropped several notches with passengers on a flight from Gatwick to Portugal on Sunday when the plane had to turn back to pick up 42 sets of golf clubs, which holiday-makers claimed belonged to him and his mates.

Jimmy Tarbuck – fellow passengers outraged.
The Air 2000 jet was at around 30,000 feet somewhere over Northern France, when the captain announced they were turning back, according to the Daily Mail.

The aircraft set course for Manchester and landed an hour later. But many of the passengers became incensed when they spotted a trolley full of golf clubs being wheeled out and loaded into the hold.

Allegedly they had been due to be flown out on a separate flight to coincide with Tarby’s annual celebrity tournament at the exclusive San Lorenzo resort in the Algarve but the plane had too many clubs in the baggage compartment, which proved to be overweight.

The next available flight would have been on Thursday, too late on the tee for the start of the tournament, so the airline made a ruling, took a penalty drop by shifting them to Manchester and ordered the pilot to turn back and pick them up.

One passenger was apparently so outraged he had to be escorted off the plane by police and left stranded in Manchester. Others complained to the airline and received an apology.

Passenger Sheila Spencer, heading for husband’s 55th birthday near Faro, told the newspaper, from a mobile phone as the plane sat on the tarmac: "It’s disgusting. If someone had been taken ill that would have been different, we could have understood that – but why we should have to be diverted is beyond me."

An Air 2000 spokesman, desperately looking for some kind of relief from the hazard, admitted the move was poor etiquette.

She explained: "The golf clubs were supposed to have gone out on an earlier flight but had to be off-loaded because they were too heavy.

"Unfortunately the next available flight was not until Thursday, too late for the tournament. So it was a case of getting them out there as soon as possible.

"This is not the way we would normally treat our passengers. I can only apologise on behalf of the airline," she said but refused to say whether compensation would be offered.

Speaking by telephone on Johnny Vaughan's late night BBC television chat show on Tuesday, Tarbuck claimed the episode was a misunderstanding and that the clubs were destined for another tournament in the same area.

"The clubs were nothing to do with me." he said.

What do you think? And have you suffered luggage nightmares with your golf equipment? Tell us on The Forum.