A380 flight ‘completely runs out of water’

Old Sep 21, 19, 1:34 pm
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A380 flight ‘completely runs out of water’

New one for me: our A380 flight ‘completely ran out of water’ yesterday, approximately 90 minutes before landing. The consequences of this - in addition to no teas and coffees with breakfast - included the inability to flush toilets or wash hands in the basins. The CSD made an announcement to apologise and state that this was “obviously unacceptable”, and that all passengers were being handed forms to complete to claim compensation. Didn’t really impact Mrs Starship73 and I directly as thankfully we hadn’t needed to use the bathrooms before landing, but I guess they’ll throw a few thousand Avios our way? According to the crew members I spoke to we took off with the usual 1.7t of potable water on board and it simply all got used up rather than there being any particular system malfunction. So no-one’s fault as such, just a bit of a mystery as to why so much water was used on this particular flight?
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Old Sep 21, 19, 1:59 pm
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Originally Posted by Starship73 View Post
New one for me: our A380 flight ‘completely ran out of water’ yesterday, approximately 90 minutes before landing. The consequences of this - in addition to no teas and coffees with breakfast - included the inability to flush toilets or wash hands in the basins. The CSD made an announcement to apologise and state that this was “obviously unacceptable”, and that all passengers were being handed forms to complete to claim compensation. Didn’t really impact Mrs Starship73 and I directly as thankfully we hadn’t needed to use the bathrooms before landing, but I guess they’ll throw a few thousand Avios our way? According to the crew members I spoke to we took off with the usual 1.7t of potable water on board and it simply all got used up rather than there being any particular system malfunction. So no-one’s fault as such, just a bit of a mystery as to why so much water was used on this particular flight?
I’d ask for some vodka to wash my hands...

glad and you weren’t impacted. Surprised they didn’t realise until so far into flight that they had an issue
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Old Sep 21, 19, 2:05 pm
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Details of the flight route details could be useful.
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Old Sep 21, 19, 2:15 pm
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Sigwx posted some interesting background info related to a similar incident that occurred on an EK operated A380 flight a few years ago.

Water supply system on the A380?
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Old Sep 21, 19, 2:38 pm
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If I may please ask a dumb question: When someone flushes a toilet during flight (or while sitting at the gate on the ground), is the used toilet water then stored on the aircraft in separate sewage tanks or is it somehow expelled from the aircraft (like old fashioned trains where one wasn't supposed to use toilets or flush while the train was in a station)? This would obviously impact whether the weight of all the water would be carried the entire distance to the destination.
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Old Sep 21, 19, 2:42 pm
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
If I may please ask a dumb question: When someone flushes a toilet during flight (or while sitting at the gate on the ground), is the used toilet water then stored on the aircraft in separate sewage tanks or is it somehow expelled from the aircraft (like old fashioned trains where one wasn't supposed to use toilets or flush while the train was in a station)? This would obviously impact whether the weight of all the water would be carried the entire distance to the destination.
I think I read the toilet waste is stored (hence stories of overflow / full waste tanks) but other waste water is jettisoned - it presumably varies by aircraft too though
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Old Sep 21, 19, 2:44 pm
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
If I may please ask a dumb question: When someone flushes a toilet during flight (or while sitting at the gate on the ground), is the used toilet water then stored on the aircraft in separate sewage tanks or is it somehow expelled from the aircraft (like old fashioned trains where one wasn't supposed to use toilets or flush while the train was in a station)? This would obviously impact whether the weight of all the water would be carried the entire distance to the destination.
Waste water that is used during toilet flushing is held in black water tanks, and empties by the "honey wagon" on arrival at destination. It is NOT expelled from the aircraft like the old fashioned trains.

Water from hand washing in sinks and galley sinks is expelled through super heated drain lines into the outside air.
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Old Sep 21, 19, 2:45 pm
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Originally Posted by lorcancoyle View Post
I think I read the toilet waste is stored (hence stories of overflow / full waste tanks) but other waste water is jettisoned - it presumably varies by aircraft too though
I am not aware of any aircraft, that has a different set up to what we have both mentioned.

All black waste is stored and all grey water is discharged.
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Old Sep 21, 19, 2:47 pm
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On a note to the original point... Twice on A380 aircraft, I suffered the same issue when operating as crew. Both, it was a sensor issue in one or more of the potable water tanks, which said they were full, when in fact they were not, hence leaving with non-full tanks, to the degree the water ran out.

Airbus is notorious for water system issues, not just A380 but narrow body too.
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Old Sep 21, 19, 3:04 pm
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Originally Posted by deboyzoned View Post
Details of the flight route details could be useful.
I'm not sure it matters?
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Old Sep 21, 19, 3:21 pm
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Originally Posted by gw76 View Post
I'm not sure it matters?
It would if it wasn't safe to take on potable water at the destination for the return trip so the tanks had to be full when departing the UK
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Old Sep 21, 19, 3:29 pm
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Is it normal to hand out forms in such a situation instead of just using the onboard iPad to trigger some Avios as compensation?
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Old Sep 21, 19, 4:35 pm
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This was likely a system failure. The potable tanks and the chemical fluid for the loos are not the same and operate on totally different systems (for fairly obvious reasons). Thus, unlikely the aircraft ran out in the sense that the supply was used up.
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Old Sep 21, 19, 4:37 pm
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Originally Posted by fruitcage View Post
Is it normal to hand out forms in such a situation instead of just using the onboard iPad to trigger some Avios as compensation?
I’d like to see you try to fill out 469 CR cases on a full A380 when a fault occurs an hour before landing.
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Old Sep 21, 19, 4:46 pm
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I’m all for holding airlines to account, and getting compensation where you have been affected by a failure, but when someone isn’t affected by the failure, should they be asking for compensation?
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