Published on : Thursday, August 3, 2017
Two different Air Transat flights were diverted to Ottawa airport on Monday due to bad weather, leaving passengers on one of the planes stuck for more than five hours.
The Canadian Transportation Agency has launched an inquiry to examine the two incidents.
“Air travel is an integral part of modern life. Usually, it goes smoothly, but if something goes wrong, passengers have rights,” said agency chair Scott Streiner.
“This inquiry will determine, based on the evidence and the law, whether the treatment of passengers on the two flights was in line with the airline’s obligations – and if not, what corrective measures should be ordered,” he added.
Passenger Laura Mah was on an Air Transat flight from Brussels to Montreal that was forced to land due to thunderstorms.
When a third passenger called the 911 emergency services number, the Montreal based Air Transat crew were filmed asking the caller to come forward, leading to angry responses on social media.
In the other diverted flight from Rome to Montreal passengers could not get out of the plane for four hours.
Ottawa International airport which became congested following a number of diverted flights tweeted it is the airline’s decision on whether or not passengers can disembark.
It also confirmed that the emergency services had received several 911 calls from passengers on flights at the airport.
Krista Kealey, spokesperson for Ottawa International Airport Authority said: “We had a gate available and air stairs ready in the event that the airline decided to deplane. We also had buses on the tarmac ready to shuttle passengers to the terminal – buses the Authority purchased specifically for situations such as this.
“Neither the ground handling service nor the airline requested either of these during the event.
“We keep a supply of water, food, diapers and other personal hygiene necessities to support passenger needs in irregular operation scenarios, and were prepared to deploy these supplies.
“Although our staff tried several times to contact the aircrew through the handlers to provide further assistance, the air crew was non-communicative and did not take us up on our offers to assist further.
Air Transat says it disputes the airport’s explanation of what happened. The airline tweeted:
“Ottawa airport’s version of events is not consistent with ours. We will continue our investigation and come back with facts as soon as possible. In any case, our passengers experiences genuine discomfort for which we are sincerely sorry.”
Both flights eventually arrived at their destination in Montreal several hours behind schedule.
Ottawa International Airport said one passenger received medical assistance during the delay.
Tags: Air Transat