Cathay Pacific Airlines Lets Passengers Sit For 7 Hours, Then Cancels Flight

If you ask Cathay Pacific, the overnight stay their passengers experienced while stuck sitting on a plane grounded in San Francisco for 7 hours before the airline reluctantly canceled the flight was more like a slumber party than anything else:

“While still on board, our cabin crew worked to ensure the comfort of passengers providing snacks, beverage refreshments and a hot meal. Many passengers were asleep on board as we provided refreshments and updates on the delay,” the airline said in a written statement.

The passengers, on the other hand, tell a different story:

“We sat there three hours before they said anything,” said Mark Valenta, a newlywed for whom the flight was to have been the start of a dream honeymoon to Asia. “Then the PA system went down, the lights were going on and off, babies were crying. It was a nightmare.”

“They finally said there was some kind of technical issue, but they were not sure what it was, and were trying to resolve it,” Valenta said. “But the pilot was so nonchalant about it. There were no snacks, no drinks, nothing.”

Passengers boarded Flight CX873 to Hong Kong just after midnight Tuesday for a 1:20 a.m. departure. They never left the gate. For 7 hours passengers sat with little information and few refreshments. At 4 am they were allowed to go back into the terminal for “juice” according to one passenger. Eventually the crew told the passengers that they would be delayed until a broken part was flown in from the East Coast. Even so, the flight wasn’t officially canceled until 7:30 am. —MEGHANN MARCO

SFO nightmare — 400 stuck on plane 7 hours [SFGate] (Thanks, Glenn!)
(Photo: fuggle)

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.