Let Me Out!

This is the second time in the past couple years that I remember hearing about something like this. Some flight was forced to land a small airport when delays at Seattle had them low on fuel. Okay, so that’s bad enough, but then the flight sat on the runway for EIGHTEEN hours before resuming flight to Seattle. During those 18 hours the passengers were not allowed to leave the plane! Two people required medical attention — and they were not allowed to leave!

The excuse given was that the small airport was not equiped to handle the international travelers (security/visa/etc), since the flight was from Amsterdam. Well, maybe I could understand this, but why 18 hours? Apparently some mechanical problem came up, which, again, the small airport wasn’t able to fix very quickly.

During this 18 hours, the toilets filled and stop working, the food ran out and water use was limited. Aweful. Passengers called it ‘Hell’.

The airline, Northwest, will say they did everything they could. Sorry, no you didn’t.

See the original news article .

Here’s what they should have done:

  • Since people were allowed on the the plane (mechanics, paramedics, etc); send on some 5-star food and bottled water. As soon as the problem hit 2 hours, call a local catering service and send ’em in. The cost for feeding 300 people is nothing compared the the headaches from seeing families on The Today Show bashing your airline.
  • Give everyone a ‘fly anywhere’ round-trip voucher. The passengers only received a $200 voucher after their 18-hour Hell. Apparently ‘bumped’ passengers back in Amsterdam got $700. Dumb.
  • Send help from Seatlle. As soon as a problem was seen, send the experts from the nearest hub to handle the situation in person. This includes experienced mechanics, public relations, etc. People with power to make sure the most is being done. </ul>

Obviously, they need to have plans in place to handle this better; physicians should be ready to board the plane for medical treatment (they only had paramedics available); food, water, etc.

Any suggestions what can be done if you’re an unlucky passenger stuck in a similar postion?