Earlier I shared the story of yesterday’s Etihad flight from Abu Dhabi to San Francisco, which was delayed by 12 hours due to fog. The biggest issue is that the passengers weren’t allowed to deplane, so were stuck on the plane the entire time. Basically holding people hostage for this long becomes a serious safety issue, especially when you have kids and seniors aboard.
Etihad A330 at Dusseldorf Airport
Fortunately it doesn’t seem anything serious happened during that 28 hour journey. The same can’t be said for Etihad’s flight yesterday between Abu Dhabi and Dusseldorf. After keeping passengers on the plane for more than 13 hours due to fog, an Etihad flight bound for Dusseldorf diverted to Vienna after a man had a stroke.
Via The National:
“After keeping passengers on the plane for more than 13 hours last night, flight EY23 to Düsseldorf has just diverted to Vienna with a passenger receiving CPR from the crew,” said a passenger, in an email to The National.
On Sunday, an Etihad Airways spokesman confirmed the death of one of its passengers.
“Etihad Airways flight EY23 from Abu Dhabi to Düsseldorf was diverted to Vienna on Saturday, January 3, 2015, due to an on-board medical emergency involving a 73-year old male passenger. A medical team met the aircraft upon landing to assist the passenger on-board. However, he was pronounced deceased,” the spokesman said.
Now, while we don’t know all the facts, I can’t help but wonder if the passenger’s death had something to do with the delay.
In the US we have the four hour tarmac rule, which is well intentioned though sometimes ends up working against passengers. For example, say you were on the tarmac for three hours and then there’s an hour queue for takeoff, you might end up near the front of the queue for takeoff, only to return to the gate because you’ve been on the ground for four hours and one person wants to deplane.
But on the other end of the spectrum, holding passengers on a plane (presumably) mostly against their will is completely unacceptable. I hope the situation is investigated, and that it leads to either new laws or otherwise a new company policy.
None of this makes any sense to me. I don’t get why Etihad would keep passengers on the plane for this long without giving them the option to deplane. What’s the upside for them?
What a disaster.
RIP to the gentleman that passed away…