Electrical issue mid flight LAX-LHR

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Old Feb 13, 18, 2:07 pm
  #1
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Electrical issue mid flight LAX-LHR

Had a pretty scary experience on last Friday (9 Feb) service from LAX-LHR.Flying in J on the 77w, 5:25pm departure.

Somewhere around Montreal, I started smelling an electrical burning smell. I was in the mini cabin and everyone in that area was asleep. I immediately alerted the FA, thinking it was coming from my outlet or USB port. Just then, a passenger from the rear J cabin came up to report the same smell.

The smell got really intense and all electricity was cut in the cabin - to the point that only the emergency floor lights were on at some points. In seat power and entertainment were immediately shut off and never turned back on. Needless to say it was one of my scarier flight experiences and I don't hope to relive it soon.

After this, the smell dissipated and never returned.

Not really fishing for compensation - AA handled the issue, however, as much as I hate delays like this, i'm really surprised they didn't divert to Montreal or somewhere nearby.

Any one have any feedback on this or experienced anything similar?
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Old Feb 13, 18, 3:40 pm
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That is relatively scary-what was the reason?

It couldn't have been that serious if they decided against diverting, especially when you are faced with an open stretch of water ahead.
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Old Feb 13, 18, 3:53 pm
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Originally Posted by nw6338 View Post
Had a pretty scary experience on last Friday (9 Feb) service from LAX-LHR.Flying in J on the 77w, 5:25pm departure.

Somewhere around Montreal, I started smelling an electrical burning smell. I was in the mini cabin and everyone in that area was asleep. I immediately alerted the FA, thinking it was coming from my outlet or USB port. Just then, a passenger from the rear J cabin came up to report the same smell.

The smell got really intense and all electricity was cut in the cabin - to the point that only the emergency floor lights were on at some points. In seat power and entertainment were immediately shut off and never turned back on. Needless to say it was one of my scarier flight experiences and I don't hope to relive it soon.

After this, the smell dissipated and never returned.

Not really fishing for compensation - AA handled the issue, however, as much as I hate delays like this, i'm really surprised they didn't divert to Montreal or somewhere nearby.

Any one have any feedback on this or experienced anything similar?
If it was a short or other issue they could resolve by turning off power the entertainment system, why not do that and continue the trip?

Diverting the flight would have been very costly, especially since it might cause huge Euro penalties for the return trip
I wonder if UK will have a similar compensation plan if they leave the EU.
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Old Feb 13, 18, 4:13 pm
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Originally Posted by nw6338 View Post

i'm really surprised they didn't divert to Montreal or somewhere nearby.
Why? Are you familiar with the operating procedures for the aircraft that would dictate a diversion?
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Old Feb 13, 18, 4:49 pm
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Originally Posted by TomMM View Post
Why? Are you familiar with the operating procedures for the aircraft that would dictate a diversion?
No reason to be snarky . It is perfectly reasonable to expect a flight to divert when there is smoke on board.
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Old Feb 13, 18, 4:57 pm
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Originally Posted by CLT View Post
That is relatively scary-what was the reason?

It couldn't have been that serious if they decided against diverting, especially when you are faced with an open stretch of water ahead.
I guess that's easy to say from an armchair here on the ground but it probably was a scary in flight experience. You would have to trust the FAs to troubleshoot the electrical system at least at first.
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Old Feb 13, 18, 5:53 pm
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I would imagine the flight crew were pulling the buses to isolate the exact location of the fault and kill power to it. It may have been over a wide area.

I have never experienced an electrical problem or a burning smell on a plane. The scariest thing I went through was a partial hydraulic failure on a CRJ and we had to make a flaps up landing at high altitude (KCOS) in windy conditions. Rather high speed. At least it was clear that day.

Apparently when I was 6 I was on an L1011 with my parents that had a front gear collapse on the take off run. It was aborted and ended up a few feet beyond the threshold into the grass. At least the front gear did. have no memory of this however.
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Old Feb 13, 18, 7:24 pm
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Well - we all know what happened to the Swiss AIr flight out of JFK when its entertainment system caught fire, and landing wasn't immediate. No one survived to talk about it.
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Old Feb 13, 18, 8:01 pm
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I would have been absolutely scared shiiteless. Love the posters in here that are so calm asking why sitting in their living rooms. Totally hilarious.
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Old Feb 13, 18, 9:15 pm
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Speculation: after the smell was detected, the flight crew began the diversion process while attempting to fix the problem by pulling fuses, etc. Once the smell was no longer detected and the problem appeared to be solved, they deemed that a diversion was no longer necessary and carried on with the flight.
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Old Feb 13, 18, 10:51 pm
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Originally Posted by enviroian View Post
I would have been absolutely scared shiiteless. Love the posters in here that are so calm asking why sitting in their living rooms. Totally hilarious.
I’m sitting in my living room. As a former pilot, consultant with some airlines and work in the FAA and ATC safety field, I have no doubt the pilots in question did everything “by the book”, including safety checks and likely consulting with ground before choosing to fly on. Their gluteus were both on board and on the chopping blocks of AA, FAA, USDOT.
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Old Feb 14, 18, 2:21 pm
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Originally Posted by TomMM View Post
Why? Are you familiar with the operating procedures for the aircraft that would dictate a diversion?
Are you? I know I am...
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Old Feb 14, 18, 2:28 pm
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Originally Posted by JDiver View Post
I’m sitting in my living room. As a former pilot, consultant with some airlines and work in the FAA and ATC safety field, I have no doubt the pilots in question did everything “by the book”, including safety checks and likely consulting with ground before choosing to fly on. Their gluteus were both on board and on the chopping blocks of AA, FAA, USDOT.
Totally agreed; this is the sort of thing crew train for.

A few years ago I was on SCL-MIA and we had an electrical/smoke issue. We were along-side Lima at the time. I have never descended and landed so fast. And, I mean even the landing was "high speed"...noticeably fast when we touched down. They had us prepared to emergency evacuate but, once stopped were able to determine the situation was safe quickly enough to have us remain on board. (Though they had to tow the plane to a remote stand and then bring us off on airstairs.) Very impressive handling by both flight and cabin crews.
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Old Feb 14, 18, 2:30 pm
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Originally Posted by TomMM View Post
Why? Are you familiar with the operating procedures for the aircraft that would dictate a diversion?
No, but knowing the risk of any type of fire on board I, I had a difficult time imagining any flight not diverting after an electrical smell on board. I was indeed scared but the FAs handled it discretely and professionally.

Thankfully most of the plane was asleep so there was very little in the way of hysterics; most people had no idea anything happened. I was definitely super scared and after hundreds of flights I have never experienced anything nearly like this. The cause of the issue was never brought up. On the pilots descent announcement he merely apologized for the issues with the IFE and in seat power.
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Old Feb 14, 18, 4:13 pm
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Originally Posted by dkc192 View Post
Speculation: after the smell was detected, the flight crew began the diversion process while attempting to fix the problem by pulling fuses, etc. Once the smell was no longer detected and the problem appeared to be solved, they deemed that a diversion was no longer necessary and carried on with the flight.
Likely the case. It could have been a passengers cheap 99 cent iphone charger that shorted and made some electrical smell. Isolate, solve, move on.

There is a zero percent chance that the pilots chose to flew over the atlantic without being 100% sure that the cause was remedied.
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