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
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