Irate passengers aboard a pair of diverted Air Transat flights phoned 911, claiming they’d been stranded aboard the planes without air conditioning or water for several hours.
A flight from Brussels, Belgium, scheduled to touch down in Montreal just after 3 p.m. on Monday, was diverted to an Ottawa airport amid severe weather, NBC News 12. It landed around 5 p.m. after eight hours of flying time.
Passengers sat on the tarmac for four hours before emergency responders and airline staff responded with water bottles and helped those feeling ill from the heat. The airline said in a statement it had started receiving 911 calls from those still onboard, complaining about a lack of power and water on the aircraft, according to the news station.
“You can’t keep over 300 people in a plane with no AC, running out of food, running out of water,” passenger Laura Mah said. “You can’t just do that when it’s hot. It’s just not right.”
Angry flyers took to Twitter to express their frustration, one of them tweeting out a video that shows the plane completely dark.
After six hours of waiting the flight finally took off for its intended destination.
A second Air Transat flight traveling from Rome sat on the Ottawa tarmac for four hours after it was diverted. It took off for the Montreal airport after four hours and arrived at its destination five hours behind schedule.
The airline in a statement to NBC 12 said the bad weather resulted in a backlog of traffic, and airport staff was unable to offer loading bridges or stairs that would allow the passengers to deplane.
The Ottawa International Airport, however, assigned Air Transat the blame.
“The airport does not decide when an aircraft is deplaned,” airline spokeswoman Krista Kealey said. “We don’t have that right. The airline owns the aircraft. The passengers are clients of the airline.”
In a statement released Tuesday, Air Transat said nearly 30 flights were diverted to the Ottawa airport while the airport said it had to host 20 flights with a total 5,000 passengers.
“Ottawa’s version of events is not consistent with ours,” Air Transat wrote on Twitter. “We will continue our investigation and come back with facts as soon as possible.
“In any case, our passengers experienced genuine discomfort for which we are sincerely sorry.”
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