Debattista said the saga began when, after an initial delay, passengers boarded the Boeing 787-8 plane around noon and were told to disembark shortly after being seated.
“We got out, no idea what was going on, we just sat down (by the gate),” he said.
“Forty-five minutes later, we were told to get back on the plane to board. As soon as we got to the doors, we had one of the flight attendants run out and say, ‘no one is going on the plane, go back, everybody go back’.”
After waiting an additional three hours while passengers – including children – lay on the airport tiles early Tuesday morning, Debattista noticed their checked luggage being taken off the plane. He said this was the first indication that the flight had been cancelled.
“It’s pretty nonsense that we weren’t (kept) informed,” he said.
The passengers were told they would be taken to their accommodation until their rescheduled flight departed Tuesday night.
Debattista’s criticisms echoed those of another flight, JQ30. Those passengers were held on the tarmac for more than seven hours on Sunday after the plane made an emergency landing in the Northern Territory.
That flight departed Thailand just before 9:30 pm (Bangkok time) before being diverted to Alice Springs, landing at around 7:20 am due to a medical emergency seven hours into the flight.
The 320 passengers had to remain on the tarmac for seven hours after landing in the Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner after an electrical fault was discovered in the aircraft.
Passenger Zaiyana Karim said she was frustrated with the lack of communication from the airline’s crew, who told passengers that the replacement flight was on its way, when it had not yet departed.
“I noticed the crew was a bit freaked out and clueless,” she said. “We had to actively seek information from them … it was really (the passengers) who took the initiative.”
More to come.
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