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"sick" Passenger Diverts CX881 LAX-HKG Into YVR

Wed Sep 11, 2002 2:11 pm

Just got off CX881/10Sep from LAX to HKG. Arrival into HKG 6 hours late due to "sick" passenger who had to get off 1/3 into the flight.

We left LAX at 0200 on 10Sep. Well over the Pacific a passenger says he is sick. 4h10m later we touch down in YVR because the passenger claimed he needed an apendectomy.

After dumping 75 tonnes of fuel into Vancouver and then buying another 118,000 litres to continue our flight comes word that the "sick" passenger is fine. Just a little indigestion. Meanwhile the crew is over their duty time of 18 hrs so we have to put down in TPE to change crew and pick up another 35,000 litres of fuel.

Cost to CX.
1) 75,000 tonnes of fuel dumped on arrival into Vancouver
2) 118,000 litres of fuel picked up in YVR.
3) US$6,000 landing fee in YVR.
4) US$10,000 landing fee in TPE.
5) 35,000 litres of fuel picked up in TPE
5) Extra 2 cockpit and 19 cabin crew picked up in TPE and then....

We get word on the flight from YVR-TPE that the passenger is fine and in a hotel in Vancouver waiting to take today's flight on CX to HKG.

Must have cost CX close to US$100K for this double diversion but the risk of lawsuit was greater so they dropped him in YVR.

A hard decision to make when a hypochondriac thinks he is sick. Just a nightmare flight!
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RE: "sick" Passenger Diverts CX881 LAX-HKG Into YVR

Wed Sep 11, 2002 2:23 pm

Can they charge him for the extra cost?
Too bad there wasn't a MD on the flight to treat the passenger
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RE: "sick" Passenger Diverts CX881 LAX-HKG Into YVR

Wed Sep 11, 2002 2:24 pm

How unfortunate! Was there a doctor on board? Or did the passenger did all the consultation and examination himself?! A decision to divert or not is an important one and the doctor's opinion is paramount. A passenger usually cannot divert a flight by his own insistence!
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RE: "sick" Passenger Diverts CX881 LAX-HKG Into YVR

Wed Sep 11, 2002 3:25 pm

CX should charge him, or his insurance. But, they did the right thing, now if the outcome was worst, then they should not charge him. Well thats up to them.

david b.
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RE: "sick" Passenger Diverts CX881 LAX-HKG Into YVR

Wed Sep 11, 2002 3:35 pm

No DOC? WHat would happen if they continues? They would be over Siberia?
Teenage-know-it-alls should be shot on sight
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RE: "sick" Passenger Diverts CX881 LAX-HKG Into YVR

Wed Sep 11, 2002 3:58 pm

Charge the idiot, thats what I say !!
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RE: "sick" Passenger Diverts CX881 LAX-HKG Into YVR

Wed Sep 11, 2002 4:31 pm

The guy claimed to be a doctor and his wife was also a doctor ( or claimed to be). There were also other doctors on board who concurred that his symptoms were appendicitis.

I sat next to one of the cockpit crew who was now deadheading from TPE-HKG and he told me that when a passenger is sick it is not up to the captain. CX contracts with a company on the ground ( in the US) who decides what to do based on the symptoms explained by the doctors on board and by the doctors on the ground.

The cockpit crewmember said the liability would be enormous if the guy was really sick.

The guy wants to continue on to Hong Kong tomorrow on CX but I hope CX will refund his money and tell him to take another airline.

I also asked why they couldn't just fly straight thru to HKG. It was only 45 minutes further than TPE but he said the airline and the cockpit crew would be fined by the HK Civil Aviation Authority if they went over their 18 hour time limit.
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RE: "sick" Passenger Diverts CX881 LAX-H

Wed Sep 11, 2002 5:42 pm

Um, this is really naive, but anyone knows why they must dump fuel before landing in vancouver????? Because the plane is too heavy to land??????
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RE: "sick" Passenger Diverts CX881 LAX-HKG Into YVR

Wed Sep 11, 2002 5:49 pm

The carriers do not end up paying the money that you mentioned, the insurance companies for the airline pay for these. Did you guys call Medlink inflight ?

jesseycy, yes it is because the plane was too heavy to land with all the fuel
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RE: "sick" Passenger Diverts CX881 LAX-HKG Into YVR

Wed Sep 11, 2002 10:52 pm

Jesseycy... yep! You just answered your own question.
Welcome to my starry one world alliance, a team in the sky!
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RE: "sick" Passenger Diverts CX881 LAX-HKG Into YVR

Thu Sep 12, 2002 12:35 am

I was nonrevving from SEA-MEM last year when about an hour or so out of SEA a young woman was getting sick. She was very pale, had shortness of breath and wasn't doing well at all. The crew dialed the Mayo Clinic hotline that NW uses and consulted with doctors. Her condition wasn't improving so the decision - made collectively by the doctor, captain and NW dispatch decided to divert to DEN. When we landed in DEN there was EMS people waiting our arrival. By the time we got on the ground the girl had improved enough that her color wa back and that her and her grandma disembarked fine. We sat a few mintues while we took on more fuel and they checked out a possible oil leak the FO found on the walk around and we were off. I was in FC talking to the FA's after we were again airborne to MEM and it turns out she wanted back on the flight after the EMS personnel saw her. It also turns out she is a nervous flyer and decided to self perscribe herself her fathers antidepression drugs which apparantly had a bad reaction to her birth control pills. Many people during the ordeal were very helpful and sympathetic towards the girl... but their mood quickly changed when they found out what caused the problem! This girl caused all the passengers to miss their connections in MEM and put us into MEM 2 hours late. Diversions are a very big deal in terms of logistics and money. They aren't taken lightly and the decision to do them isn't hastily done. It's too bad that so many people in both situations were inconvenienced, no matter how stupid these people were. But airlines just cannot take any chances anymore. Especially in the US... where people will sue organizations a tthe drop of a hat. Like the moron who is fat - he's suing all the fast food companies in the US for his being fat, claiming they didn't provide enough information as to the nutritional values of their foods. These ae the kind of people airlines have to deal with on a daily basis!!

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RE: "sick" Passenger Diverts CX881 LAX-HKG Into YVR

Thu Sep 12, 2002 1:35 am

Ok, how many of you that just posted have had appendicitis, and needed an appendectomy? Any? I have.

It is a very interesting pain, and HARD to pinpoint. I woke up at 3am with a sharp pain in my stomache, and figured it was indigestion, and tried to sleep it off. Couldn't sleep much that night. I woke up in the morning and tried walking around, and doing some physical activity, figuring it would get my stomach moving or something, and work it off. It still didn't. Finally, I decided to go to the hospital as I had a lot of the symptoms of appendicitis. It took the doctors about 6 hrs to actually finally come to a firm decision and diagnosis that it was appendicitis. They can't tell for sure if it is indigestion or actually appendicitis, finally they did a CT scan and saw the inflammed appendix. I was whisked into the OR and operated on 20 minutes later, my appendix burst in the OR. Luckily, I was in the operating room when it happened, and so they were able to take care of it, however I know someone who had theirs burst and couldn't get to a hospital fro a couple hrs, and was hospitalized for over a week. Not fun.

I do understand, this was probably a pain for CX, and costly for them or their insurance company, however, how would you like to have your appendix burst in the middle of the pacific? Would you really like it? I highly doubt it. Not fun, and not good for you. Plus, when or if you do get appendicitis, it isn't something you know "oh, shit, i've got appendicitis" it's hard to figure out if it is indigestion or not. Cut this man some slack, he probably isn't a General Surgeon, and doesn't know every aspect of appendicitis, and he probably, did have some strong sharp feeling in has stomach. If you think you have appendicitis, and you're over the middle of the Pacific, you're gonna wanna land somewhere, quick, you wont want it bursting.

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RE: "sick" Passenger Diverts CX881 LAX-HKG Into YVR

Thu Sep 12, 2002 1:53 am

Obviously a 747-400 can dump fuel, find an alternate airport and land.

However, what if it had been a 737? For example, Lufthansa operates all-business-class 737(Privtair) from Newark to Dusseldorf. As I recall, the 737s are not capable of dumping fuel in the air and must continue flying to burn off the excess fuel. If after take-off(1 hour into the flight) , a passenger becomes seriously sick and requires immediate medical attention on the ground, how long will it take for the LH 737 to burn off the enough fuel for a safe landing? (since the 737 is probably fully fueld for the nonstop flight across the Atlantic)
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RE: "sick" Passenger Diverts CX881 LAX-HKG Into YVR

Thu Sep 12, 2002 5:23 am

The 737's MTOW is very close to its MLAW so they would burn off more than enough fuel during the return approach.
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RE: "sick" Passenger Diverts CX881 LAX-H

Thu Sep 12, 2002 6:17 am

I know someone who, years ago, had abdominal pains just as he was getting on a flight from LAX to HKG. An hour or so into the flight, the pain suddenly passed, and he thought it was gas.

It turns out the relief was his appendix bursting. A few hours later he became very ill, and since they were in the middle of nowhere, they continued on, but it cost him 8 weeks in a hospital in Hong Kong.

So yes, it can be a VERY serious and life-threatening thing.

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RE: "sick" Passenger Diverts CX881 LAX-HKG Into YVR

Thu Sep 12, 2002 7:46 am

Regarding a/c that can't dump fuel = if it is that important for you to return to an airport you land the plane overweight. It is as simple as that. The airplane can physically do it, but damage may be caused. ALot of times we are heavier than the max landing weight on the avro and should we have a fire or some massive complication we have no way of dumping fuel either. So, we land and hope nothing gets too damaged.

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RE: "sick" Passenger Diverts CX881 LAX-HKG Into YVR

Thu Sep 12, 2002 11:21 am

Bkkair, sorry to hear about your uneventful flight.

Yes, the contracted medical company on the ground (Medlink or whatever), have doctors on the phone 24/7 and based on all the symptoms and situation of the patient, they would decide to immediately divert or continue on. Operations control would make the arrangements and ground support.

And yes, CX could possible sue this guy for the charges.
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Why A New Crew?

Thu Sep 12, 2002 11:30 am

Doesn't a long haul flight such as LAX-HKG have a "backup" or relief crew onboard? If the crew that began the flight used up their max. hours why couldn't the backup pilot take over for the remainder instead of stopping in TPE?

Bruce Leibowitz - Jackson, MS (KJAN) - Canon 50D/100-400L IS lens
CX Flyboy
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RE: "sick" Passenger Diverts CX881 LAX-HKG Into YVR

Thu Sep 12, 2002 5:55 pm

The backup crew, as you put it, are simply part of a 4 pilot crew, who all start their duty period at the same time. Having 4 crew only allows you to extend the duty period that everyone does. 3 or 4 crew are needed as the flight time for just 2 crew is longer than the allowed duty period. When they reach the end of the duty period, they reach the end of it together, seeing they all got on the flight at the same time. Even when we are travelling as Duty Travel, positioning for the company, we are on duty, even though we are sitting in the cabin for the entire flight. When we get to destination, we have to have a rest just like everyone else before operating the next flight.
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RE: "sick" Passenger Diverts CX881 LAX-HKG Into YVR

Thu Sep 12, 2002 5:59 pm

Cx flyboy: So how long a rest is required for a positioning crew member? Just curious, because I've been on a few flights where the pilots in the cabin have changed out of civvies into uniform prior to landing. I always assumed they would be flying out straight away...

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