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Etihad Flyers Trapped on Tarmac for 12+ Hours After Fog Plagues Abu Dhabi

Etihad Flyers Trapped on Tarmac for 12+ Hours After Fog Plagues Abu Dhabi
Joe Cortez


Etihad flyers were stuck on an aircraft for almost 28 hours after heavy fog in Abu Dhabi delayed takeoff.

Passengers of one Etihad Airways flight traveling over the weekend are happy to be on the ground after being stuck on their aircraft for nearly 28 hours. CBS San Francisco reports EY183 landed at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) from Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) on the evening of Saturday, January 3rd, arriving more than half a day behind schedule.

According to CBS, the problems began when severe fog temporarily brought operations at AUH to a halt. AP reports that EY183 flight crew told passengers they could not turn back to the gate due to airport overcrowding. Overall, the aircraft was stuck on the tarmac for more than 12 hours before the 18-hour flight finally departed. During the 12-hour waiting period, the flight crew was forced to switch out, as the wait exceeded their flight time limitations.

“Out of every airline, this has been the worst experience in my life,” Vinay Ramakrishna, a passenger on EY183, told CBS. “[The flight had] no sanitation, they’re out of water, out of tissues, out of apples, out of chocolates!”

Etihad has since issued an apology via Facebook and attributed the disruption to the severe fog. A portion of the statement read:

The restructuring of Saturday night’s operations, including the cancellation of 20 return flights, has resulted in the easing of aircraft congestion at Abu Dhabi Airport as well as allowing other disrupted flights to operate. We apologize to all guests for the inconvenience that this major disruption has caused and thank you for your patience during these extremely challenging few days.

FAA regulations state airlines which delay passengers of an international flight on the tarmac for more than 4 hours are subject to a fine. Although the EY Conditions of Carriage state that passengers may receive a refund if the airline “fail[s] to operate a flight reasonably according to schedule,” it is unclear if compensation will be given to those affected by Saturday’s incident.

[Photo: Abu Dhabi Airports]

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1 Comment

  1. mrooywg

    January 6, 2015 at 6:07 am

    I do emphasise with all affected by the fog in Abu Dhabi, however what many do not appreciate is that the passengers being stuck on the plane is a consequence of rules in place by airports, and not the airlines per se. I was recently stuck on a flight from JNB to HKG due to weather – a large thunderstorm rolled in just as we were boarding, and the control tower had urged the pilot s to try and take off before the storm hit. Unfortunately, by the time we got to the end of the runway, there was no way we were going to take off. The flight was thus stuck at a remote stand for the next 6 hours. The problem is, once an aircraft has pushed back, it has technically “departed”, and is therefore given the lowest priority for. It cannot be allocated a gate if these have already been allocated to incoming aircraft, or other departing aircraft. To add to this, the lack of ground personal and equipment, means getting to the aircraft can only be done after an extended period of time, after all other flights that have not left the gates have been attended to. Having a flight crew who do keep the passengers informed makes this wait less painful. In our case, we were served our dinner on the ground, quite a novelty! It is an unfortunate situation, but there is virtually nothing the airlines can do, but be open with their passengers (read customers). Unfortunately leaving on time can have consequences.

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