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
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
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!