Flying the friendly skies is one thing. Being forced to pony up the cash to do it while en route is something else entirely.

But that’s what happened on a flight operated by Austria-based carrier Comtel earlier this week.

The plane was on its way from Amritsar, India, to Birmingham, England when it made an unplanned stop in Vienna and told passengers they’d have to disembark because the airline “ran out of cash to fund the last leg of the trip.”

A six-hour debacle followed, during which those passengers flatly refused to get off the plane and called the police. Finally, with no other options, the passengers went to ATMs and pooled the $31,500 needed for the flight to continue.

“I have heard what happened. It shouldn’t have happened, and I will investigate why it happened,” the director of passenger services for Comtel Air said, adding everyone involved would get a refund.

But the story doesn’t end there — the 16-year-old airline has canceled all flights between Birmingham and Amritsar for the next several days, leaving hundreds of people stranded in both countries while they try to make other arrangements.

Asked if Comtel would cease operations, an airline spokesman said, “There is no chance of that. Comtel is a very strong company.”

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[ABC News]

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