Canada-Mexico flight makes emergency Montana stop

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by gregm, Mar 17, 2014.  |  Print Topic

  1. gregm

    gregm Gold Member

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    A flight heading from Canada to Mexico with 181 passengers and six crew members aboard made an emergency medical landing Sunday in western Montana after encountering extreme turbulence that slightly injured two flight attendants.

    Sunwing Airlines spokeswoman Janine Chapman says the Boeing 737 landed around 7:30 a.m. Sunday at Helena Regional Airport, a small hub unaccustomed to dealing with international travelers. Flight 559's passengers waited in the aircraft for more than five hours before being told to stay in a cordoned-off area in the terminal as the company dispatched another plane to continue the journey. The passengers got on the second plane and took off for Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, around 6:25 p.m. MDT, airport officials said.

    more:http://news.yahoo.com/canada-mexico-flight-makes-emergency-montana-stop-204820959.html
     
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  2. blackjack-21

    blackjack-21 Gold Member

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    They left them waiting in the aircraft for more then five hours in the cold and snow of Helena, Montana? It was daytime, airport was probably open by then, and they couldn't offload the pax into a cordoned off area for over five hours? Hope the aircraft was at least hooked up to an APU to try and keep it warm inside, as running the engines for five hours on the ground to try and keep heat inside doesn't sound like a great idea. They must have froze their butts off !

    Must be something like Omaha. Flying back from LAS to ORD in an ancient UA DC-10 on a hot July day some years ago. The usual summer thunderstorms had hit ORD and we were forced to circle over OMA for 55 minutes because of the backup at ORD. Captain came on to say we were running short of fuel and we'd put down at OMA to refuel and he added it looks like flights all over the area were being diverted because of the storm. Landed, pulled off to the the side and waited over an hour for a fuel truck to get to us. No entering the terminal. Then off to the taxiway to await clearance to continue to ORD, as other flights continued landing in OMA. And we waited, and waited, and waiting in over 90 degree temperatures as the captain said he wanted to be first off the ground when we all got clearance, so no waiting in the terminal. Every half hour "we should be off soon". This went on for over 4 1/2 hours and no refreshments served to keep us cool. Crew kept a/c on with one engine running to keep it going, but we were sweltering anyway. Finally, my wife was ready to pass out from the heat as were others it seemed, so I asked a stewardess (not FA that far back in time) to at least pass out water to us all as we were baking in the heated tube.
    Shortly after they came around with ice water for all aboard. Finally got to ORD six hours late, missed our last connection to YYZ by minutes after running for it and seeing the plane still at the gate with boarding closed. ORD was a madhouse, and no hotels available that late, so we slept at the airport, and got an early AC connection in the morning. Suitcase lost at ORD, got to us at home four days later. I shaved while seated at ORD at about 4 AM by hooking up my electric razor to a convenient socket near where we were sitting, causing a large commotion and many smiles from a tour group that walked past us who had just arrived from somewhere in the Orient.
     
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  3. gregm

    gregm Gold Member

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    I thought there was a limit as to how long you can be 'held captive' onboard.
     
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  4. blackjack-21

    blackjack-21 Gold Member

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    Sunwing is a Canadian airline and I'm not sure they're subject to the same captivity rules as the U.S. ones, and even so, there's nothing they could have done as the airport restricted their offloading the pax until a custom's and immigration officer could be located and got there. I don't know if Canada has the same rules, if any, as the U.S. regarding the keeping of pax on planes for long periods of time on the ground.

    Our sweatbox experience on UA at OMA happened in the late 1990's, well before the new regs about keeping pax on grounded flights for extended periods over three hours. A few years later, I remember an incident on a NWA flight where they kept pax on a frigid plane for six or eight hours and that made headlines at the time, and my wife and I remembered our steamy UA flight in comparison.
     
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  5. Wandering Aramean
    Original Member

    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    The DoT rules do apply even to foreign carriers, though the limit is 4 hours, not 3 for delays prior to departure. On arrival it is different IIRC.

    But that also presumes that there is a way to handle the situation to the satisfaction of USICS, something Helena probably isn't equipped to do. It is a regional airport which mean no USICS staff onsite as a matter of course. And I'm willing to bet that the Feds would be none too happy if the locals took an ad hoc approach to immigration.

    Also, the airport generally has very limited service. I'm not sure there would have been room to put the 180 passengers in the terminal anyways. Especially not in a secure area. They don't typically get anything above a 70 seater in there.
     
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