Just about anyone who has taken a long flight has fallen asleep in their seat for at least a few minutes. But most of us wake up when the plane lands. And in only the rarest situation do we wake up in an otherwise empty jet… inside the airplane hangar. But that’s exactly what a passenger on an Air Canada flight says happened to him.
According to the passenger, a 31-year-old professor from the UK, he’d nodded off during his flight from Calgary to Vancouver and didn’t wake up until 90 minutes after the plane had landed.
The passenger, who had begun the day in London before connecting to the Vancouver-bound flight in Calgary, says he’d been up for 24 hours when he finally fell asleep.
“The last thing I remember was taking off from Calgary. I knew I was safely on board and there was no further destinations and it was all good,” Mr. Lines added. “Somebody would wake me up at the end.”
He was right, but it wasn’t a fellow passenger or flight attendant. It was a mechanic who had boarded the plane after it had been towed into the hangar.
“He said, ‘Don’t worry. You should have got off an hour-and-a-half ago,’” recalls the passenger. “If I’d been a vulnerable passenger, a young girl or elderly, it could have been a lot worse,” he added. “The other implication is that if I was a terrorist, then I’ve got an hour-and-a-half after the plane’s landed, all by myself, in a secure area on a plane.”
According to the passenger, this is the response he received via e-mail from an Air Canada rep:
Although there was no excuse for the incident that occurred, it appears the flight attendant on this occasion was dealing with several wheelchair passengers and co-ordinating their departure from the aircraft…
Although the flight attendant advises he did look back into the aircraft to check for any passengers still on board, he did not walk through the aircraft cabin as he was engaged with handling the passengers in wheelchairs requiring assistance.
I can assure you that no previous incident of this nature has occurred and that this matter has been thoroughly reviewed with the crew member concerned and other crews operating similar aircraft to ensure an incident of this type does not happen again.
Please accept our sincere apologies for the inconvenience caused to you on this occasion.
As a “gesture of goodwill,” the passenger was offered a one-time savings of 20% on up to four tickets for future Air Canada flights.
Says Rip Van Winkle: “I suppose the moral is next time I fly to Canada, I’ve got to wear something a bit more reflective or glow-in-the-dark so someone can see me.”
Air Canada passenger left on plane, wakes up in hangar [National Post]
Thanks to Jayme for the tip!