I experienced something on this flight one normally reads about only on the news...but more on that in a bit.
I arrived at Casablanca Airport (CMN) with about 3 hours until my 11:30 am flight to Brussels. As is customary in most Arab countries, one must go through security before actually checking in. Have your passport and flight docs ready to present to the guard.
CMN is Royal Air Maroc's (RAM) hub and operates a huge check-in area in Terminal 2. I checked in the day before, but used the kiosk to obtain my boarding pass. I proceeded to security/immigration and an agent directed me to a line (it's nice there are people to direct instead of passengers wondering if they can approach or not). All in all, it took about 15 minutes for this process.
Once past, I made my way to the Pearl Lounge (accessible with Priority Pass). My boarding pass indicated boarding would commence around 10:50 am. After a final sip of coffee, I made my way to gate A2. Note A-gates use jet bridges while B- and C-gates use buses. The majority of RAM flights use A gates.
Once I arrived at my gate, I noticed boarding lanes for different groups. I was in group B and decided to join the fray. Our agent began to board families, people who needed extra time, and folks in business class. Then, things became heated...
As she continued to board people, a group of passengers (from a canceled Bordeaux-bound flight) ran up to our jet bridge door and staged a sit-in. NO JOKE. They stood in front of the door and demanded RAM do something for their canceled flight. In fact, this group was one of many that blocked other Europe-bound RAM flights. A family (from my flight) tried to board and almost got into a fight with one of the protestors.
Confused and alarmed, we all looked around and wondered where the police were. Fast forward 30 minutes and the protestors were STILL in front of the door. Police finally arrived, but DID NOTHING. I suppose they were just there to ensure no actual fighting broke out.
A RAM Manager finally arrived and started yelling at the protestors. One of the passengers from my flight then confronted the manager and those two started yelling.
Didn't I tell you? It's a situation you only read about...
50 minutes later and everyone is becoming unrest. I then hear a passenger from my flight yell that there's a new gate (in the C area). So we all run down to the new gate only to be chased by the protestors. Once we arrived at the new gate, the agent said our flight was not departing from here. Everyone is angry at this point when someone yells to go back to the original gate.
We all haul back to the original gate where they finally boarded all Brussels passengers. To my relief, I made it on the jet bridge, but everyone kept looking back to make sure the protestors didn't usurp the bridge.
Finally settled in my seat (to a full flight, no less), we taxied and departed an hour late for Brussels.
Service was fine, if not robotic; though, one flight attendant always had a smile on his face. They served a hot meal and I ate a chicken/rice dish along with tabbouleh, cake, a roll and water.
There's no entertainment so BYO, but the flight only lasted three hours. The interior has seen better days, but we made it safely and were only 45 minutes late into Brussels.
I paid USD$420 for this flight (including a connecting flight from Brussels to London).
What happened to me and us Brussels passengers is, in my hope, a one off. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend RAM, but I certainly wouldn't go out of my way to fly them again.