When i was a F/A for Business Express, the first day we flew the F-27 into BOS it was an a/c subsititution for what was to be the our very first Shorts 360 flight. That aircraft, for whatever reason was not ready, so they swapped an F-27 for it. Only problem was that that BOS station had never gotten the Fokker before and had none of the portable stairs that we needed for boarding/deplaning (the Fokker version of the F-27 did not have an airstair door like the Fairchild version did). Here's the very plane (on the left) this all happened on - note the cargo door behind the flight deck windows and the passenger door - - in the rear. The other is a pic of another Fokker, but with the type of push-up steps i'm referring to . . and note the cargo bin door open .... read on
Photo © Andy Martin - AirTeamImages
Photo © AirNikon
Our first arrival of the day from BDR was met with a makeshift set of steps they made from a small bag cart (!!) and a couple of wooden boxes with the idea that rampers would assist -literally hand-hold- the pax as they deplaned/boarded! This was fine till the third passenger (of 35!) off the plane was a little too heavy for that arrangement - and his foot went thru one of the wooden boxes - and fell literally on his ear off the cart as he lost his balance. (He was a company non-rev - not a passenger -and wasnt hurt, thankfully!). SO with our makeshift stairs shattered, we had to turn the pax around and march them back up thru the cabin and into the forward cargo bin/galley area and deplane them thru the cargo door which was closer to the ground than the rear passenger door was because of the upper sloping rear fuselage.
Only problem was that the cargo door was only waist high!
The looks on those poor passengers faces as they climbed outta that bin as if they were jumping down off a hayride were priceless. Most sat down on the sill of the door (you know with the grease and dirt and all) and slid/jumped down the couple of feet from there! Business travellers, mostly, and dressed in their business clothes, women in heels, OMG! Such a dignified experience!
But then, as there were no stairs still, we had to board the return flight in the same manner. Talk about embarassing!! I was so dreading our next rotation back into BOS that same day for fear of having to face that embarassing situation again - but fortunately they did some calling around after we left and upon our next arrival, they had borrowed a set from, i think, Brockway (Piedmont Commuter) - but they had only one set themselves, so of course it happened. On our third rotation of the day back into BOS, their F-27 was there at the same time as ours. So no stairs! Our captain absolutely forbade them to do the cargo-door shuffle again so we had to wait for their F-27 to leave, our rampers shot over to the other side of the airport and tugged the steps back to us and we were able to deplane. 30 minutes after we arrived. This was in July. Guess how cozy and warm it got (particularly with tempers flaring!) in that cabin as we waited. And waited! I thought I those pax were gonna slit my throat (of course the captain and FO were safe up in the flight deck behind a closed door LOL!)
The next day our 360 came online and it wasnt an issue any longer and by the time we started scheduled F-27 flights into BOS, we did have our own rolling stairs.
I do recall hearing it happen again on a charter we did with the Fokker to some small airport in upstate New York - but that was a sports charter and wasn't too big a deal for athletes to climb in and out!
Gotta love the old days! (well, the mid 80s, anyway!)
Now lets hear your stories!
[Edited 2005-11-04 03:05:32]