Qatar Airways passengers endure 3-hour delay without air conditioning

By Linh Le   June 12, 2024 | 07:29 pm PT
During a Qatar Airways flight from Athens to Bangkok via Doha, passengers suffered extreme discomfort when they were confined for more than three hours in oppressive heat due to a malfunctioning air conditioning system.
An aircraft fromQatar Airways. Photo from Qatar Airways Twitter

An aircraft fromQatar Airways. Photo from Qatar Airways' Twitter

The incident, which occurred on Monday while the plane was on the Athens International Airport’s tarmac, caused temperatures inside the cabin to soar to nearly 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.8 degrees Celsius), as reported by the New York Post.

The Bangkok Post, referencing a Matichon reporter on board, stated that despite the malfunction, the captain decided against allowing passengers to disembark, leading to the distressing situation.

South African sports therapist Garth Collins, a passenger on the flight, shared his experience, stating: "Passengers were literally dehydrating and passing out on the plane."

"[They were] left stranded on the plane for 3.5 hours with doors closed and no air conditioning."

As seen in videos circulating online, a passenger had to resort to stripping off their clothes while others fanned themselves with safety instruction cards during the delay.

Garth noted that after enduring the heat, passengers were finally permitted to leave the aircraft and return to the cooler confines of Athens International Airport. However, the relief was fleeting as they encountered extensive delays without communication from the airline. He emphasized that many missed their connecting flights in Doha due to the incident.

Criticizing the airline’s response, Garth remarked that the assistance provided, which included only a cup of water and a small soft drink, was "completely insufficient to rehydrate an individual after the enforced sauna on the plane."

The flight was carrying 49 members of the Thai boxing team and accompanying reporters returning from the IFMA Senior World Championships in Patras, Greece. Among them, footage highlighted Muay Thai fighter Damian Collins visibly overwhelmed by the heat.

"Damian is a fit, conditioned athlete, imagine the stress and danger for any normal individual," commented Garth.

Thai boxer Thannachai Sidsongpeenong also expressed his astonishment at the conditions and reflected on his relief at surviving the ordeal: "Now I feel that I was lucky to get through that situation."

The flight ultimately arrived in Doha at approximately 10:30 a.m. local time on Tuesday, significantly delayed from its expected arrival time of 6:20 p.m. the previous day.

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