0 min left

Passengers Want Follow Up After Terrifying Emergency Landing

Departing Montréal-Trudeau

“This is not how we die,” a flyer reported thinking on a recent Air Canada flight.

Air Canada flyers reported a “terrifying” experience on a Dec. 19 flight that made an emergency landing due to a mechanical problem.

“This is not how we die; this is not how our life ends,” passenger Lisa Zayac told the Ottawa Citizen. “As someone who is seven months pregnant, this was a beyond terrifying experience to have my husband sitting beside me red-faced, tears in his eyes, saying his final goodbyes to me as we both thought this was the end for us.”

Air Canada flight AC1849, carrying 131 passengers and five crew members, was en route from Toronto to Phoenix December 19 when it developed a mechanical issue affecting cabin pressurization, said Air Canada spokesperson Peter Fitzgerald in an email to FlyerTalk.‎ Oxygen masks were deployed in the cabin, and the Airbus A319 diverted to Albuquerque where it landed safely with no injuries.

Passengers were placed in hotel rooms for the night and completed their journey to Phoenix the next day on a different aircraft.

Zayac described an “eerily silent” cabin and said her husband told her, “I’ll see you on the other side.”

She says the passengers were left to cope on their own in Albuquerque: a shuttle bus didn’t show up, and it was hard to get information about their replacement flight the next day.

“It is important for context that you know Albuquerque is not somewhere we fly in our network, so we had no Air Canada staff on the ground to directly assist customers,” Fitzgerald said. “That said, we do not like to disrupt our customers’ travel plans, and we appreciate that it is inconvenient and acknowledged this with a goodwill gesture. However, safety must be our top concern and our priority was to transport everyone safely to their destination.”

The Ottawa Citizen also published this account from flyer George Papp, who was onboard the flight with his wife and two young children:

First, their ears popped and the air turned cold. He and his wife wondered what was up. Then the oxygen masks fell. “Our six-year-old and our three-year-old were crying all the way down,” he said. “Try to put a mask on a three-year-old. There was five minutes of quiet (from the pilot) with some codes that the pilot was using on the PA system. They didn’t ask us to brace for impact. That was the best part of it all. Seriously. Then there was the five minutes of silence where your mind goes crazy.”

“He (the pilot) finally came on and said the situation has been stabilized so that was reassuring. But he said to keep the masks on.” Papp feels his questions aren’t getting proper answers. He received an offer of a discount on future flights, “which seems a little odd considering our experience and the amount of stress we all had to endure. The crew handled it wonderfully, but I just want to know why it happened.”

The Ottawa Citizen noted that Thursday, “Papp got a reply from customers relations blaming a pressurization issue. It ends: ‘Thank you for this final opportunity to review the file.'”

[Photo: Wikipedia]

Comments are Closed.
alphaod January 13, 2016

I flew on Air China few years ago. Also had a pressurization issue with one of the doors not sealing properly. We turned around half way and they didn't even tell anyone. Only when were were like half an hour away thinking we were almost at our destination, we were told we had an issue and that we were back at our original in JFK. It was just unbelievable, but they offered everyone compensation (in cash), put everyone in hotel (well I went home), and told us we would fly tomorrow. Well we flew the next day, and thinking we were all going fine when I noticed we were only flying at like 10,000 ft or something. That's when I knew they were lying to us again. Eventually we got to Anchorage, they told us the problem wasn't fix and we needed to land to refuel. Half the plane didn't want to continue flying, but then we were all stuck in Alaska... Anyways I could see a lot of the people on the plane were terrified for the remainder of the flight. I figured if we flew already half way, it can't be that bad and I slept the rest of the way. The crew basically did not provide any information. Sure more information would have been nice, but had they told everyone that it was not fixed, I don't think anyone would have boarded the flight.

robsaw January 12, 2016

Sensationalist reporting - still can't find the spot in the article where there is a "terrifying emergency landing". The landing itself was uneventful, the descent and deployment of masks due to depressurization may have been frightening.

scoobydoo88 January 12, 2016

I realize that inexperienced flyers might tend to overreact, but saying your last goodbyes?? Tears in your eyes? "I'll see you on the other side?" Over oxygen masks deploying?? Puhleeeez. That's just embarassing. Loss of pressurization is very low down on the list of life-threatening incidents. As long as the cockpit crew has oxygen, it's no big deal. It has nothing to do with landing safely. So, even if some passengers were riled up, it's irresponsible for a writer to give their hysterical ramblings print space. Thinking it was a life-threatening experience doesn't make it one.

brocklee9000 January 11, 2016

Ah, I was going to say it but MPScan beat me to it. Communicate is the last priority, whether it's over the radios in controlled airspace with ATC, or talking to passengers. Obviously there were certain things communicated to the flight attendants, which were likely mandatory checks or items on emergency checklists, so obviously that takes precedence over "Uhhhhhhh...folks. It looks like we uhhh...have a sudden loss of cabin pressure and uh...we're going to go down to 10K feet so you can stay conscious and uhhhhh...we're taking a left turn to Albuquerque.". The story clearly points out that they were never told to brace for impact (so clearly it wasn't that big of an issue), they could still breathe and were conscious (so they got down to a safer low altitude in a timely manner without just diving), and they landed without further incident. Good on the pilots and flight attendants for professionally and efficiently. A few weeks ago there was a story about an EK flight that lost pressure and descended and they just flew at a lower altitude to their destination, no big deal. No sensationalized story. It amazes me the lengths people will go to, or the details they include to elicit a reaction. For example, what did being seven months pregnant have to do with anything (FWIW it sounded like her husband was having more of an emotional breakdown than your stereotypical pregnant woman). Meanwhile, legitimate emergencies get glossed over, like the scare of the AF flights that diverted due to bomb threats, or the precarious scenario when a jet flies through an area of hail and suffers severe terrifying damage.

BJM January 11, 2016

“It is important for context that you know Albuquerque is not somewhere we fly in our network, so we had no Air Canada staff on the ground to directly assist customers,” Fitzgerald said. But you do have a Star Alliance partner there. Nobody thought to pick up the phone and call United for help?