Air Transat face 'unbearable' delays on runway

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Passengers have described “unbearable” conditions after two flights were stranded for up to six hours on the runway of a Canadian airport.

Frustrated Air Transat fliers called emergency services amid the chaotic scenes in Ottawa as the jets from Rome and Brussels were stalled on the tarmac amid bad weather on July 31.

Now passengers have told an official inquiry they had to put up with poor air conditioning as well as a lack of food and water, while one boy became so nauseous he vomited on people as they sat in their seats.

More than one passenger testified in public hearings held by the Canadian Transportation Agency that they felt they were seen simply as “luggage”.

In a statement to the panel, passengers Alan and Patricia Abraham, of Flight 507 from Rome, said they were initially told the delay in Ottawa would be just 45 minutes to refuel, but they ended up being held for five hours.

They said: “The bathroom had run out of toilet paper. One young boy became nauseous and was trying to make his way to the bathroom when he vomited in the aisle and all over several passengers two rows behind us.

“The stench was unbearable.”

At one point passengers chanted “open the door, open the door” to cabin crew as the temperature on board reached more than 31C.

After calling 911, passengers were given water by emergency responders.

Air Transat blamed circumstances that were out of its control, including long waits for fuel.

Airline CEO Jean-Francois Lemay said on Thursday that “something did not work well, obviously” on 31 July.

“I am not saying there is a fault or blame but there is a collective responsibility that has to be observed in these events.”


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