It was time to go on summer vacation to Canada. This time, may girlfriend and I choose Lufthansa, because we had some vouchers from them.
The trip turned out to be very eventful……
June 19th, 2004
We arrived at the airport about 1.5hours prior to departure. As check-in for Star Alliance Flights is in Terminal 2 you have to allow for a little bit more time.
There was a short line for Lufthansa Economy Class this morning so we were checked-in in no time at all and could head over to get some Canadian $$$ from the bank.
After passport control, we proceeded to Starbucks to get us started… there was a fire alarm somewhere in the Terminal so all fire doors were shut automatically – pretty nice experience.
ð more about fires to come….
Boarding through gate B29 was easy – as was the whole flight to FRA. Standard.
June 19th, 2004
Arriving in FRA we made our way to gate B46 already seeing a huge line in front of the Toronto gate. Oh well – there’s no way around it so we waited for about 45 minutes to get passport-checked again.
Once on board we were greeted by some nice FA’s. We started our “journey” along the aisle to row 52 – this plane is looooooooong!
We taxied to the rwy right on time and after a long take-off roll on a bumpy rwy started the famous A340 climb up to FL350. Soon after, drinks were served, news showed and promises made regarding the movie to follow.
Now the fun starts: We were about 150miles west of the Irish coastline when I realized a long left turn. Told my girlfriend that this is very unusual and realized that the air show information changed to “Distance to Destination: 200miles”.
30 seconds later the captain came over the PA and announced that we have some technical problems and need to land immediately in Shannon, Ireland. People started to get nervous, FA’s running around checking for seatbelts on, etc… Next thing, the plane is descending, and let me tell you, this was more like a dive than a normal descend – we were at FL370 by that time and had only about 180 miles to SNN. People getting even more nervous…. Anyway: we made it to Shannon and used every single inch of that RWY there (don’t know how long it is, but certainly not the most “comfortable” for a A346.
While taxing to the gate I joked to my girlfriend about how the heck we will get out of here again, hoping those guys in SNN have a proper tow-bar for the –600 (the A346 can not use the same tow bar as the 342 and 343).
At the gate, the captain told us that there was a burning smell in the rear galley, which left him no other choice than diverting to SNN. LH would now work out something for the pax and we have to wait. Well, some Aer Lingus technicians came on board, disembarked, came back, etc… After approx. 1.5hours we were told to disembark and come back to the gate after 1 hour.
Back at the gate after a refreshing Guinness we were told to wait for another 30 minutes. OK, boarding commenced again – they told us that the rear galley has been shut down and that there’s no problem anymore. We will make it to YYZ with approx 1.5 hours delay due to favourable winds. WELL… guess what’s next?
Captain: “Ehm, we seem to have some trouble with the towing equipment, ground staff is working on it”
30 minutes passing
Captain: “Ehm, we’re sorry but the problem still persists, LH Technik in Frankfurt has been contacted to find a solution”
1 hour passing
Captain: “We are highly frustrated here in the Cockpit but it seems that there is no appropriate towing equipment at this airport. Seems like we stranded somewhere in Africa” (no kidding)
30 minutes passing
Captain: “Well, Ladies and Gentlemen, there is definitely no way we can get away from here. Lufthansa is now arranging for a tow bar and a new crew to be flown in from Frankfurt (!), they will be arriving here in approx. 5.5 hours – terribly sorry”……
Can you all feel the frustration and anger the pax felt?
To make a long story just a bit shorter, we were to disembark and come back when our flight is called – this happened 6 hours later (and various Guinness’ richer) when a A310 from FRA arrived. Boarding started again, this time with a very unfriendly crew. Doors closed, announcement from the Captain that we need to go immediately because we have a special clearance to land at YYZ until 3am (Airport officially closes at 2am). Due to the rush, they were not able to re-cater the plane, so we had no food for the remaining 6 hours flight time – GREAT!
Remainder of the flight was uneventful….
We landed at YYZ at 3.30 am (instead of 3.30pm) and taxied forever. Of course, at that time it wasn’t easy to find a bus driver, so we waited again for 30 minutes to be bused to immigration.
Outside of the Airport there was no taxi, no help from Lufthansa for stranded passengers, no Hotel arrangements made etc…. very very bad service indeed. I at least expected some sort of help to find a hotel for people unfamiliar with the area.
Well, this was certainly an experience….