By Libya Herald staff.
Tripoli, 24 June 2014:
Passengers on today’s British Airways flight from Tripoli to London Heathrow were left sitting on the runway for three hours before their flight was eventually cancelled because of a technical fault.
Some 30 passengers who had boarded flight BA899 around 3pm spent three hours sitting on the plane while efforts were made to fix what the captain described as “a technical fault with one of the instruments.” Shortly after 6pm those on board were informed that the problem could not be fixed on the runway and were instructed to disembark.
Passengers were offered a bus journey back to Tripoli with the possibility – not guaranteed – that a special BA flight could be put on tomorrow. After complaints from a number of travellers whose visas had expired or who had onward connections, BA agreed to reroute urgent passengers via Istanbul.
A handful of travellers were this evening still waiting in the BA lounge at Tripoli International Airport for a flight to Istanbul in the early hours of the morning. They expect to arrive in the UK almost 24 hours later than anticipated.
One traveller told the Libya Herald that people were patient and civilised during the three hours spent on the plane, although one passenger tired of waiting did disembark early.
“The staff did try and keep us updated but communications were only every half an hour or so,” one passenger said. He added that the customer service was also not up to BA’s usual standard. “No refreshments were offered to us while we sat on the plane, which was rather remiss of BA,” he said, adding that passengers had to make requests for water.
Earlier in the day, another London flight, Afriqiyah Airways’ 8.30 am flight to London Gatwick, was seriously delayed after a break-down in the baggage handling system.
Passengers for that flight queued in front of the airline’s new dedicated check-in counters for nearly an hour, during which time no announcements were made. Customers at the end of the queue first realised the nature of the problem when other passengers began leaving the Afriqiyah desks and rushing towards the general check-in area at the other end of the terminal, taking their baggage with them.
Delays at check-in were exacerbated by several individuals who jumped the queue and had their bookings processed quickly by check-in staff, according to one traveller. At the departure gate, a problem with the bus used to transport passengers from the terminal to the plane apparently led to further hold-ups. Despite the confusion and delays, passengers were said to have been remarkably patient. [/restrict]