FOOTAGE showing a ‘ghost plane’ forced to shed many of its passengers before returning to Manchester Airport has emerged.
The eerie film was captured inside the aircraft after more than 100 holidaymakers were left behind in Turkey due to a technical fault.
Michael Johnson, who shared the footage of the inside of the empty Thomas Cook plane, said cabin crew asked for volunteers to give up their seats.
He said: “The captain said the plane could fly but it had to unload 115 passengers, so they wanted volunteers.
“They would be put up for the night and given 400 euros.
“We were one of the first to press these lights, but so did everyone else. Practically all the lights came on.”
Michael, 53, had enjoyed a two-week holiday in Dalaman with his 11-strong family.
But when they boarded their return flight a member of cabin crew told him that the plane hadn’t been working, the Manchester Evening News reported.
He said: “We boarded the aircraft and sat for 45 minutes in boiling temperatures without knowing why.
“I asked one of the cabin crew and was told the plane hadn’t been working.
“They thought they could fix in and it took 45 minutes for the captain to tell us what was going on.”
Passengers were selected from the front and the back of the plane to remain in Turkey.
Michael and his family, who were towards the middle of the plane, were told they were to remain on the flight.
But their luggage was also removed from the hold, leaving just a handful of passengers on the deserted aeroplane.
Michael told the Gazette Live: “We were told the plane was safe to fly, but we still didn’t know what to do.
“My car keys and house keys were in my suitcase. I had to make that decision there and then. We didn’t have the finances to support ourselves.
“We were kept in the dark about everything. If anything had gone wrong we’d have lost four generations of our family.”
Michael was forced to break a window in his home to gain entry when he got back to Teesside.
His luggage has since been returned, but has been damaged in the process.
Michael said: “We go to Turkey every year, but it spoiled the full experience.
“It was traumatic and embarrassing for Thomas Cook.
“We should not be treated like that. You’re a person, not a pound sign.”
A Thomas Cook Airlines spokesman said: “Due to an earlier technical fault, the aircraft was required to reduce its weight on board.
“We had a large number of customers who were happy to stay overnight in Turkey for the flight to operate as planned, which continued on to Manchester after a short delay.”