Passengers Aboard Air France Flight Asked to Chip in for Plane Fuel

A Beirut-bound Air France flight en route from Paris had to be diverted to Damascus Wednesday night, ironically due to civil unrest in Lebanon.

France hasn't allowed its national carrier to fly to Syria since March after a falling out between the two countries over mounting civilian casualties in the ongoing uprising against the Assad government.

Needing to refuel the plane for the next leg of its flight, the Air France crew tried to buy what it needed with a corporate credit card, but were refused.

Local airport officials left the crew little choice but to ask the passengers for assistance.

"As a precaution and in anticipation, the crew asked how much money the passengers had in cash to pay to fill up with fuel," an airline spokeswoman told Reuters.

Ultimately, an alternative means of payment was arranged, but the spokeswoman would not elaborate.

The flight took off toward Cyprus two hours after arrival, and passengers spent the night in Larnaca before heading to Beirut yesterday evening.

[photo via AP]