Passengers trapped on Singapore Airlines plane at airport for eight hours with patchy air conditioning

‘Everyone was so hot in there. It was lucky no one fainted,’ says passenger

Helen Coffey
Monday 11 September 2023 10:33 BST
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The incident occurred onboard a Singapore Airlines flight
The incident occurred onboard a Singapore Airlines flight (Getty Images)

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Passengers onboard a Singapore Airlines flight were trapped on the plane at the airport for eight hours while engineers tried to fix a fault with the aircraft.

According to one passenger’s account, the cabin soon heated up as the air conditioning went off twice during the lengthy wait.

Flight SQ833 was due to fly from Shanghai to Singapore on 6 August, departing at 4.50pm and landing at 10.20pm.

The flight pushed back on time and taxied to the runway, but take-off was aborted when a technical issue was discovered, reports The Straits Times.

The aircraft returned to the gate, where engineers tried to diagnose the problem. According to one passenger, Chee Yang, a 32-year-old port operation executive who was travelling with his wife, the pilot said they would be waiting onboard for 30 minutes, then one hour.

But the wait turned into eight hours, with travellers only permitted to disembark at 12.30am when the flight was officially cancelled.

During this time, although travellers were provided with food and refreshments, the air conditioning in the cabin went off twice while the engine was switched off for maintenance workers to attempt to fix the fault.

“Without air conditioning, everyone was so hot in there. It was lucky no one fainted,” Mr Chee told the ST.

When they were eventually allowed off the plane, passengers were put up in hotels for the night and flown out the following day.

A Singapore Airlines spokesperson apologised and said the carrier acknowledged that customers could have been let off the jet sooner.

“The aircraft returned to the bay and engineers were brought on-site to try to rectify the issue,” they said. “For safety reasons, the ground power had to be disabled while the checks were going on.

“Customers disembarked the aircraft at 12.30am and hotel accommodation was arranged. All affected customers were rebooked on other flights (on Thursday) and have since departed Shanghai.

“We recognise that the customers could have been allowed to leave the aircraft earlier. SIA apologises to the affected customers for this and we will review our procedures to avoid a recurrence.”

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