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Airplane passengers are asked for gas money

PARIS — The anxieties of an unexpected landing in war-ravaged Syria were compounded for passengers on an Air France flight when they were asked by the crew if they had cash to help refuel.

Passengers on Air France Flight 562 were headed from Paris to Beirut on Wednesday, but the religious and ethnic tensions of the civil war in Syria have spilled over into Lebanon. Unrest around Beirut’s airport made it impossible to land, Air France said Friday. The crew sought permission to divert to Amman, Jordan, but lacked the fuel to make it safely, so the flight ended up in Damascus.


Authorities at the Damascus airport told the crew that they could not accept credit cards because of European Union sanctions — cash only. So as a precaution, an Air France spokeswoman said, the crew asked the passengers how much money they had to help pay for fuel.

But the airline managed to settle the bill without help from the passengers, and the plane took off two hours later for Cyprus. The plane landed safely Thursday in Beirut.