Passengers on Air Transat Flight 157 are demanding answers from the airline after they were left sitting on the tarmac for 6 hours.
The flight, an eight hour journey from Brussels to Montreal, was diverted to Ottawa after thunderstorms in the area. Passengers were not allowed to leave the plane, and things started to get messy.
The hundreds of passengers were told the plane needed to re-fuel, which is what was causing the delay. After that, staff told the passengers the fuel truck had actually run out of fuel. This was the only information given to them.
Passengers began to panic, as hours went by with no information. Once the power went out, things got chaotic.
Laura Mah, a passenger on the plane, spoke to CBC News while she was still on the plane.
"The plane actually lost power and went zero AC [air conditioning], and then now we've got the doors open and one kid is puking, and people are just losing their minds," she said. "I'm super pissed," Mah said. "I'm just really hot, I'm sweating, and I haven't eaten. … I'm hungry and they only rationed the food to give little snacks to kids, which is good. Luckily, they started bringing in bottles of water from the outside, like 45 minutes ago, but no food. I'm starving."
Continue reading to find out who called 911, and how the airline tried to pass blame.
In total, passengers ended up sitting on the plane for about 15 hours if you include flight time.
The heat became so unbearable, especially after the air conditioning cut out, that passengers began calling 911 to come and rescue them.
Mah says passengers began to get hostile, even when emergency services arrived.
"They're just getting mad, saying 'This is not all right, this is not OK, you can't do this to us.' The police are in here and the fire department's in here and they're telling us that they can't do anything, that we just have to stay put."
Air Transat responded to the complaints of passengers, saying it was all on the airport.
Due to bad weather out of our control, we were sent to another airport.Waiting for authorities,but should be leaving very soon.CPA— Air Transat (@airtransat) August 1, 2017
In addition, they also released a statement after the fact.
"We are sincerely sorry for the inconvenience that this situation, which was beyond our control, may have caused our passengers," the statement said. They also claimed there were no stairs available to deplane.
But here's the thing, according to Ottawa International Airport, they had all the necessary equipment and supplies to help the passengers, but Air Transat refused it.
Continue reading to find out what help Air Transat refused.
"We had a gate available and air stairs ready in the event that the airline decided to deplane. We did have buses on standby in case they decided to disembark their passengers and process them through customs," Krista Kealey, a spokesperson for the Ottawa International Airport Authority, said.
"However, that decision was not taken by the airline, and ultimately it is the airline that is responsible for making those decisions about whether a flight disembarks — and, in the case of an international flight, processes through Canada customs — or whether it sits and waits it out in the hopes that it can get to its final destination."
In another statement, airport authority said the crew on board the flight refused communicate with the airport.
"We keep a supply of water, food, diapers and other personal hygiene necessities to support passenger needs in irregular operation scenarios, and were prepared to deploy these supplies," the authority said. "Although our staff tried several times to contact the aircrew through the handlers to provide further assistance, the aircrew was non-communicative and did not take us up on our offers to assist further."
I'm sorry to hear that - it's up to the airline to determine whether to deplane or wait it out when a flight diverts.— Ottawa Airport (@FlyYOW) August 1, 2017
"Providing the best possible customer experience is a priority for the Ottawa International Airport Authority," the statement continued. "We are disappointed that Air Transat has not been forthcoming, transparent or accountable with information concerning their diverted flights."
This issue is raising a lot of questions about airline passenger rights. In Canada, they are currently trying to pass a bill that would force airlines to compensate passengers if they are on the tarmac for more than three hours However, it would not force airlines to disembark a plane during delays.
Who do you think is in the wrong here?