Sandyb123 From UK - Scotland, joined Oct 2007, 1166 posts, RR: 0 Posted (5 years 3 months 3 weeks 6 days ago) and read 13170 times:
Well my first TR after a couple of requests for on in 'Civil Aviation' so here goes. Will try to keep it short and sweet.
I was flying J class SIN - MEL as part of a multi city trip I took to get away from the Scottish winter and to visit friends out east. My routing is GLA-DBX-SIN-USM-BKK-SIN-MEL-SYD-DBX-GLA.
The evening started very well, chauffeur turned up on time to take me to Changi airport, greeted at the airport by a very nice concierge and whisked through to EK s lounge. The flight was called and we boarded the 3-class EK 777-300ER bound for MEL (sorry I don't have reg). EKs long-haul J product really is excellent with massive TV, full animated AVOD, lie flat seats, excellent catering etc etc.
However, my bubble was about to burst. The captain said we had to do a gate start of port engine but didn't give a reason. As soon as we switched from ground power the cabin started getting very hot and it was obvious something was up with the air con. We waited, and waited and eventually we pushed back and number 2 spooled up.
On the taxi out for departure we came to an abrupt halt and after about 10 minutes of sitting going nowhere with the engines periodically spooling up and down (with passengers becoming increasingly concerned and confused) the captain said there was a technical fault and MX would have to check. We returned to stand and waited.
Throughout this time the cabin temperature was getting to an unacceptable heat and I was sweating just sitting in my seat. At least two passengers then passed out from the and had to be de-planed. All the doors where opened to get some air but the situation was deteriorating quickly. We then had to do a visual bag check as Pax had been offloaded, had to remove their bags from the hold and had to refuel as the engine tests had taken us under our required fuel load for the flight.
We then had a suspected heart attack victim and crew where running up and down the cabin with medical emergency kits and the old lady was also deplaned. I assume her condition was due to the heat and chaos onboard and I was glad to learn later she was OK. The ground generator (APU?) then failed on us meaning that the heat started again and we couldn't get a new one as by this time it was late and ground crew where scarce.
We went for take two. This time both engines starting at the gate (?), push back and taxi for departure, although it was blatantly obvious the problem wasn't fixed because as soon as the doors where closed the temperature started to get even worse. We held on the taxiway, engines spooling to try and force fix the problem (a valve that manages pressure in the engine power bleed?).
After 3.5 hours of this chaos the captain eventually conceded that the plane was not fit for flight and we taxied back to the gate and de-planed. However this was the start of the real chaos. At the gate nobody had a clue. The purser form the plane tried to keep the calm but increasingly people where shouting and getting very upset at the situation. The plane was full in all classes (358 pax) and there was going to be a riot if something didn't happen. One passenger stood on the seats and called for a show of hands for an EK representative to be summoned to actually do something. It was 4am and there was only one EK person to be seen.
I (along with most other F & J pax) had gone back to the lounge but there was no meal vouchers issued, no water provided to Y pax and apparently the captain came to address the angry crowd directly to state that hotels where being arranged. At 5am we eventually got buses / taxis to hotels (very nice at the Mandarin Oriental Singapore) estimating a 5pm departure later that day (19 hours delay).
We all dutifully appeared back at the airport and re-planed. We eventually left at 6pm local for the 6.5 hour flight, arriving at MEL at 3.20am this morning. As if this comedy of errors couldn't get any worse, the captain then came on to apologies but there would be a further delay as a child was showing signs of illness and quarantine wanted to check him out before anyone got off the plane. Luckily the wee guy was Ok and after 30 minutes waiting we eventually got off.
Whilst I understand that MX and medical issues happen, this really was an exceptionally bad series of events. I have written to EK asking for what compensation we will get (I missed Oz day and my fellow Dunblane resident Andy Murray at the Oz Open) for the 22 hour delay. Wish me luck!
9V-SVC From Singapore, joined Oct 2001, 1801 posts, RR: 9
Reply 3, posted (5 years 3 months 3 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 12259 times:
Nice trip report, I had a technical problem in London with SQ's A380, but from your experience comparing with mine, SQ handled it a much professional way. From the 2 hrs waiting at the gate (regular updates from the Captain), with light snacks. Eventually the a/c had to be repaired overnight, and they sent all of us (400 over pax) to hotels or other flights.
Perhaps you should sent in an email to EK's customer service. You passengers, not to mention First Class deserved much better than this.
Lukeyboy95 From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2008, 1166 posts, RR: 33
Reply 4, posted (5 years 3 months 3 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 12122 times:
Thanks for the quick run through of your events. It seems to be quite an isolated incident which is one positive, but regardless was also handled not too greatly when it did happen. I wonder why only 1 EK rep was available?
Quoting Sandyb123 (Thread starter): I missed Oz day and my fellow Dunblane resident Andy Murray at the Oz Open) for the 22 hour delay
What a pain in the arse. At least he won though. Since you were in J would it not be possible to be transferred to SQ or something, on the pretense that you had an important event to attend?
SQ772 From Singapore, joined Nov 2001, 1807 posts, RR: 5
Reply 6, posted (5 years 3 months 3 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 11665 times:
Well, Murphy's Law at work.
Aircraft mechanical issues can't be helped. It's not something that the cabin crew look forward to as well, and are as helpless as everyone else if information is not forthcoming from either the ground or tech crew. In such situations, I tend not to stress the crew further by making unreasonable demands especially if I see them trying their best to get everyone comfortable. Of course, the tech crew can play their part by giving regular updates so that passengers know what to expect and mentally prepare for what is to come. But again, sometimes it takes a while before the engineers can determine what the fault is, and how long the repair is going to take.
Personally, I would have expected EK to disembark all passengers in view that the cabin tempature was reaching uncomfortable levels. Perhaps there were operational constraints for them not to do so.
What irks me most is when the cabin crew do their disappearing act the moment problems arise, leaving passengers to fend for themselves.
Very good. Every time (8 legs now) I have flown on the GLA flight there has been an almost full quote in J and Y (we don't get F on the GLA).
Quoting SQ772 (Reply 6): Aircraft mechanical issues can't be helped. It's not something that the cabin crew look forward to as well, and are as helpless as everyone else if information is not forthcoming from either the ground or tech crew. In such situations, I tend not to stress the crew further by making unreasonable demands especially if I see them trying their best to get everyone comfortable.
I think my complaint is more that once this situation transferred to the ground there was nobody able to take control and hours passed without resolution.
Abrelosojos From Venezuela, joined May 2005, 5143 posts, RR: 55
Reply 8, posted (5 years 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 9559 times:
Have you heard back from EK? You should get some leverage as people from EK regularly monitor the board. In fact some of the "excellent" TR's for EK are written by their staff. Good luck. A great airline is one that can shine in difficult conditions ... seems EK is just not there yet.
Shamrock321 From Ireland, joined May 2008, 1640 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (5 years 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 9041 times:
How would the grounf/mech crew have had any info? It seems it was a sill decision by the captain to spend some much time trying to sort out a mechanical problem away from the gate! 3.5 Hours thats a joke!
Sandyb123 From UK - Scotland, joined Oct 2007, 1166 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (5 years 3 months 3 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 8833 times:
Quoting Abrelosojos (Reply 8): Have you heard back from EK? You should get some leverage as people from EK regularly monitor the board. In fact some of the "excellent" TR's for EK are written by their staff. Good luck. A great airline is one that can shine in difficult conditions ... seems EK is just not there yet.
Nope I emailed them 2 days ago and not even an acknowledgement. There is actually an EK office here in MEL and another in SYD where I am off to next. If I don't hear anything in the next few days I am going to pay them a visit!
Quoting Shamrock321 (Reply 9): It seems it was a sill decision by the captain to spend some much time trying to sort out a mechanical problem away from the gate! 3.5 Hours thats a joke!
Yup, especially on a plane where the temperatures where hitting 40c + (estimated) and passengers where freaking out because the engines where spooling in an uncontrolled sounding manner. It was the same 773ER that eventually took us down to Oz and there where a few pax who didn't feel very confident about that aircraft! All I cared was there was some air con working!
Loalq From Switzerland, joined Jan 2007, 238 posts, RR: 3
Reply 11, posted (5 years 3 months 3 weeks 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 8796 times:
The funny thing is that when a plane crashes because some pilot pushed the envelope too far trying to fly on rough weather or because planes aren't getting enough service because of tight turnover demands, everybody quickly blames the airlines for the "unnacceptable" behaviour of putting THEIR profit interests in front of the passengers' safety. Well, I'd say it is at least a shared blame, after all this is how WE behave when sh*t happens. We are the ones demanding "compensation" for anything that happens (as if a credit of 5'000 more miles are going to significantly change our lives...) and putting pressure on the airlines.
I fully respect your position and think you are very right to complain about the way EK -- and its crew -- handled the situation, because everybody was left inside a smoking hot aircraft with no information for far too long. What I do not agree is with this whole "compensation" thing, because mechanical problems happen and will continue to happen all the time. Let's give the guys some time to work, for our own safety...
Sandyb123 From UK - Scotland, joined Oct 2007, 1166 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (5 years 3 months 3 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 8516 times:
Quoting Loalq (Reply 11): Don't worry, I can already tell you that he is going to lose to Federer on the finals...
Really? Well I will be there cheering him on anyway. Anyway, encase you hadn't noticed this forum is about aviation not Tennis.
Quoting Loalq (Reply 11): What I do not agree is with this whole "compensation" thing,
IMO we where left hanging about too long before any action was taken. I appreciate it was cutting it a bit fine for Big Day Out as I would have only had about 4 hours from arrival in MEL to the start of the concert, but the Murray match was at 7pm, a full 10 hours after scheduled arrival.
Why should I be penalised for EK s unacceptable handling of an MX issue that they handled terribly?