Travel nightmare No. 1: Your flight out of Paris makes an unscheduled stop in the volatile capital of ... Syria. And No. 2: Your crew asks passengers to help cover the cost of refueling. That's what happened to Air France Flight 562 on Wednesday, when tensions near its destination—the Beirut airport—and a shortage of fuel forced it to land in nearby Damascus. The airline had to negotiate for fuel, according to another passenger, "because Air France doesn't fly to Damascus at the moment and so it doesn't have an account" at that airport.
A crew attempt to pay by credit card was foiled by sanctions against Syria; it's not clear how the fuel was ultimately obtained. But "they found a solution to the problem," says a man who was on board. The AP reports that an Air France rep today noted that the crew inquired about passenger cash only as a "precautionary measure" because of the "very unusual circumstances." The flight needed extra fuel to reach its new destination: Cyprus, AFP reports. After an overnight layover there, it landed safely in Beirut yesterday.