The New York – Paris flight carrying 460 people suffered a 4 hour de-icing delay on departure. As a result of the four hour delay, crew exceeded their maximum flying hours. This was a fact that Air France knew would happen prior to departure through simple math. If no one at the airline was paying attention, the crew themselves were certainly aware. And Manchester was 2 hours past allowable hours, but the final leg to Paris would have apparently been too far over.
The aircraft touched down at 11:30 am (UK time) and that is where it happened. Six and a half hours on the grounded plane with reported no food or water.
Air France had originally told passengers it would send a new crew to fly the plane onto its destination. However, while pre-flight checks were being carried out a technical fault was then discovered in the cabin. The airline then said it would fly three extra planes (two Airbus A318s and an A320) over to collect the passengers, but these relief aircraft took hours to arrive. After being eventually let off the double decker A380, passengers were taken to a waiting room near departures, where they say around 50 burgers were provided.
Eventually 13 passengers who live in the UK, and were connecting home via Paris, were allowed to stay.. including a woman who lives down the road from the Manchester airport, who of course was stuck airside for more than 6 hours.
- This outcome couldn’t have been better than continuing the short additional distance to Paris.
- This could have happened to any airline, in fact it does every year or so at least.
- While the US has tarmac delay rules, those punish airlines for what’s often the fault of weather, airport facilities, and customs and immigration services (in fact, frequently a combination of those when you get these sort of delays).
- Since these events are recurring there should be learning, rather than just fines to airlines, with better preparedness on the part of airports and immigration.
- There should be a decent holding area for those that immigration cannot process, an emergency immigration setup, and passengers allowed (at the very least at their own expense) to leave the terminal and seek accommodation elsewhere.
- 50 hamburgers for more than 450 people after six hours, that’s like Lord of the Flies. I’ve personally catered a full 757 from inside the terminal, a domestic pier with food establishments closing, so I know more than 50 burgers are possible.