Pas­sen­gers tell all

Some mem­bers of the Air Transat team went out­side and took ‘self­ies’ with the plane. Air Transat CEO to tes­tify Thurs­day on Ot­tawa fi­asco

StarMetro Calgary - - CANADA - Alex Ab­del­wa­hab Metro | Ot­tawa

Air Transat pas­sen­ger Alan Abra­ham did not mince words when he was asked by re­porters how he felt he was treated by the air­line dur­ing tar­mac de­lays at the Ot­tawa air­port last month.

“There was no re­lief,” he said. “I felt like we were lug­gage.”

Blaise Pas­cal Iruti­ngabo, who lives in the Ot­tawa area, was another un­for­tu­nate pas­sen­ger. He was trav­el­ling with his wife and two chil­dren on Air Transat flight TS157 from Brus­sels to Mon­treal on July 31, when he spent nearly six hours on the Ot­tawa air­port tar­mac, after bad weather caused the plane to di­vert from Mon­treal.

Dur­ing that or­deal, Iruti­ngabo said, he wit­nessed a fam­ily with a young child who was very up­set, but crews didn’t do any­thing to help.

“She was cry­ing and her par­ents were try­ing to calm her down be­cause it was very hot in the plane,” he said, adding even­tu­ally nearby pas­sen­gers gave the par­ents what­ever wa­ter they had left to try to cool her down.

Iruti­ngabo was one of seven pas­sen­gers who tes­ti­fied Wed­nes­day dur­ing the Cana­dian Trans­porta­tion Agency’s pub­lic hear­ings into the tar­mac de­lays, which in­volved two planes: TS157 (Brus­sels to Mon­treal) and. TS507 (Rome to Mon­treal).

Wed­nes­day’s tes­ti­mony marked the first of two days of hear­ings into whether the air­line broke its con­tract with pas­sen­gers.

Se­nior Air Transat of­fi­cials are sched­uled to tes­tify Thurs­day. On Wed­nes­day, Christophe Hen­nebelle, the air­line’s vice-pres­i­dent of cor­po­rate af­fairs, of­fered an apol­ogy to pas­sen­gers, say­ing the hear­ings showed the com­plex­ity of the sit­u­a­tion on July 31.

The two planes sat on the tar­mac for hours, with the air con­di­tion­ing fail­ing on the Brus­sels flight after it ran out of fuel de­spite declar­ing a fuel emer­gency be­fore land­ing.

The pas­sen­gers said they were

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