300 stuck in Athens for two days on Scoot flight delays

VIDEO: JIMMY COOKE
Passengers stranded in Greece after a technical fault on the Boeing 787 plane led to multiple delays.
Passengers stranded in Greece after a technical fault on the Boeing 787 plane led to multiple delays.PHOTO: JIMMY COOKE
The passengers, including Singaporeans and those transiting in Singapore, took to social media to complain about having to board and disembark the plane several times.
The passengers, including Singaporeans and those transiting in Singapore, took to social media to complain about having to board and disembark the plane several times.PHOTO: TWITTER / ALI MCMANUS

More than 300 passengers on a Singapore-bound Scoot flight were stranded in Greece for two days after a technical fault on the Boeing 787 plane led to multiple delays.

The passengers, including Singaporeans and those transiting in Singapore, said they had to board and disembark the plane several times.

Flight TR713 was originally scheduled to depart Athens at 11.20am on Tuesday. But it was delayed due to "operational considerations arising from equipment limitations", a spokesman for the budget carrier said yesterday.

As it took longer than expected to resolve the issue, the 321 passengers on board were told to disembark. They were given snacks and refreshments.

They were able to board the aircraft again after the technical issue was resolved. But while they were doing so, "the operating crew's flight time limits unfortunately ran out", the spokesman said.

This meant that the aircraft had to be grounded, and Scoot had to reschedule the departure time to 11am the next day. Hotel accommodation and meals were provided to passengers during this period.

On Wednesday, after passengers boarded the plane for a third time, Scoot was told that flight approval had been revoked when the aircraft was already preparing to leave the gate.

Ms Natalie Cooke, 35, said her parents were stuck in the plane on Tuesday without water for four hours, before they were asked to disembark.

The airline had offered them accommodation for the night at the Marriott Hotel in central Athens, which was an hour's journey away.

"It was too far for my parents, and my father was too sick to travel back and forth to the airport. I had to book them a room at the hotel airport," said Ms Cooke, who works here as a client services director.

She rebooked her parents, who were flying to Singapore for their first family reunion in two years, on a Singapore Airlines flight scheduled to arrive today.

She said there were many Singaporean passengers who were stranded and unable to book alternative flights home.

Australian Ali McManus, 28, who lives in London, was on her way to Singapore for a three-day vacation with her partner when their flight was delayed.

She said she had not received any information about the flight delays directly from Scoot, and had to rely mostly on airport staff and other passengers for updates.

"I know this is what we as customers of budget carriers need to expect, but this is unacceptable to me. If you provide a service, and ask people to pay you for a service, it's expected that the service is carried out."

Several other passengers also took to social media to express their frustration over the delays. They said they had little information on the cause.

In its statement yesterday, Scoot said it was arranging to send a plane to Athens to bring affected passengers back to Singapore.

The flight was originally scheduled to leave Athens at 1.05pm yesterday (7.05pm Singapore time). But the departure time was later pushed back to 7pm (1am Singapore time, today).

Ms McManus said she was not informed of Scoot's latest flight change, and found out only from hotel staff and other passengers at the hotel lobby when she was leaving for the airport.

Meanwhile, Scoot said it had arranged for accommodation and meals for the passengers.

"Scoot sincerely apologises for this extended flight disruption and the inconvenience it had caused to our customers' travel plans," the spokesman said.

"Affected customers can opt for a refund via vouchers or to their mode of payment, if they prefer not to continue their travel with Scoot."

Those who choose to take the Scoot flight back to Singapore will be compensated based on the airline's policy for delays, said the spokesman, who did not say how many passengers have opted for a refund.


 • Additional reporting by Choo Yun Ting

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 21, 2018, with the headline '300 stuck in Athens for two days on Scoot flight delays'. Print Edition | Subscribe