Published: Wed, August 02, 2017
Business | By Max Garcia

Homecoming nightmare : Air Transat and the airport accusing each other

Homecoming nightmare : Air Transat and the airport accusing each other

Footage has emerged from inside the cabin of passengers standing in the aisles of the grounded plane, fanning themselves with the emergency instruction cards and looking distressed.

"For Air Transat, this situation has created "goodwill" exceptional".

Eventually, one passenger called 911 - but the paramedics told the passengers there was nothing they could do, but they did hand out water.

"Following yesterday's violent late-afternoon thunderstorms in Montreal, some of our flights from Europe and the South had to be diverted to other airports", it said.

Providing the best possible customer experience is a priority for the Ottawa International Airport Authority, and we are disappointed that Air Transat has not been forthcoming, transparent or accountable with information concerning their diverted flights.

"We are sincerely sorry for the inconvenience that this situation, which was beyond our control, may have caused our passengers", a statement by the airline read. After rerouting to Ottawa, the passengers were informed that they would have to wait for about 30 minutes for the plane to refuel.

The legislation will force airlines to give passengers water, food and the possibility of getting off a plane, as long as it is safe, after being stuck three hours on a runway.

Krista Kealey, a spokesperson for the authority, said stairs were made available to the airline shortly after it landed, but Air Transat did not request to have its passengers disembark.

People took to Twitter to vent their frustration about the situation.

Passenger Laura Mah told CBC that the pilot agreed to open the doors but, for no obvious reason, didn't let the passengers get off the plane.

In the summertime, when the weather is hot, you can stretch right up and touch the sky. "A Canadian government spokeswoman tells the CBC that a new airline passengers" bill of rights now being crafted will punish airlines that keep passengers on the tarmac for more than three hours. "We're going to make sure that it's not worth your while ... to treat people this way".

"It's just not right", Mah said. "Further, C-49 will do nothing to immediately help passengers", Block told CBC. This was the case of the AirbusA330 of the flight TS157 of Air Transat, which had just crossed an 8-hour road from Brussels.

"The responsibility for determining whether a diverted aircraft sits and waits out a storm ... or whether it deplanes ... rests exclusively with the airline", says Krista Kealey, with the Ottawa International Airport Authority, when asked about how the airport could've helped. "The police are in here and the fire department's in here and they're telling us that they can't do anything, that we just have to stay put".

I contacted Air Transat - a vacation airline based in Montreal - to ask for its perspective and will update, should a reply arrive.

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