Fliers Stranded at London Airport for 9 Hours, Only 45 Miles From Destination

  • Share
  • Read Later
Suzanne Plunkett / Bloomberg News

London has two major airports: Heathrow and Gatwick. They’re practically interchangeable for fliers heading to the British capital. But not for Air India.

Each airport lies in the city’s suburbs, Heathrow to the west and Gatwick to the south. All told, they’re 45 miles away from one another. So why did Air India divert a Heathrow-bound flight to Gatwick because of weather problems — and then keep the passengers corralled on the plane until the skies cleared?

The flight from Mumbai was due to land at Heathrow around 8 a.m. Sunday. But due to an inexperienced flight crew uncomfortable landing in heavy fog, the plane was cleared to land at Gatwick. (Though we can’t imagine the weather was much different at Heathrow.)

(LIST: 20 Reasons to Hate the Airlines)

Nonetheless, the airline told passengers they’d be able to land at Heathrow just 90 minutes later, so they were kept on board. But the 9:30 a.m. landing slot turned into 1:30 p.m., which exceeded the flight crew’s maximum work time. Instead of freeing the fliers, Air India trucked in a new crew to command the plane – from Heathrow, of all places. Adding even more rage to the situation, NDTV reports the relief crew got lost in the airport.

Gatwick staff said they attempted to help the trapped passengers, giving them water. “If [Air India] had allowed them off, the passengers would have come into the terminal. We would have helped with their welfare.” But instead, the fliers sat and waited, foodless, as Air India’s caterers were located at that other airport 45 miles away.

Of course, there are buses that connect the two airports, and frequent trains that run from each airport into the center of London, most travelers’ eventual destination, anyway. But we digress. The fliers reached their destination, Heathrow, just before 5:30 p.m., nearly doubling their scheduled 10-hour travel time. Air India offered its “sincere apologies for any inconvenience.”

Nick Carbone is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @nickcarbone. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

MORE: Woman Sues Over Turbulent Trip

25 comments
1BadBoy
1BadBoy

Seems like President Obama should get back into the "front seat" of this issue.

simonzee197340
simonzee197340

Obama is not just a whimp on the FCC reforms he is a sly snake trying to reverse engineer the internet to reward Hollywood and their lobbyists and to increase government oversite of the internet.

http://www.businessinsider.com.au/obama-fcc-net-neutrality-statement-2014-5

Let every American understand this point quite emphatically. It is a former Hollywood lobbyist now in charge of the FCC...the Obama administration and the Democrats that are pushing to end "net neutrality." The Republicans have told the FCC to back off but they are still going ahead with legislation.

If you are a Democrat you should be ashamed that your government is looking to end "net neutrality" to try and reverse engineer the internet...to slow down traffic and provide the platform for clamping down on free speech and new start up players. It is equivalent of taking away the printing press as soon as it was invented...giving it to a select few and denying every other person the use of it.

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/05/16/technology/fcc-road-map-to-net-neutrality.html?hpw&rref=business&_r=0&referrer=

http://www.businessinsider.com.au/obama-fcc-net-neutrality-statement-2014-5

KyleSager
KyleSager

I hate it when articles like this throw out vague statements "3 appointees."  I haven't memorized the FCC but I want them to NAME the appointees on important news like this.  It's as though TIME is trying to cloud and obfuscate the news.  Fine.  I look them up.  I'll just rely on a more thorough source next time.  The appointees are: 

 Thomas Wheeler,

Mignon Clyburn, and 

Jessica Rosenworcel.

They are serving neither Democratic nor Republican ideals on net neutrality. They are brazenly serving Telecoms. The 3 Democratic appointees are turncoats.  It's like Deja Vu all over again with the nonsense Larry Summers and other elitest Big-Bank Wall Street appointees pulled right after 2008. More DC revolving-door that incessantly taints both parties.

***This is potentially bigger than healthcare in the long run. The FCC's recent decisions adversely impact the most transformative economic medium in 400 years.***  SHAME ON YOU OBAMA AND SHAME ON YOU THOMAS WHEELER, MIGNON CLYBURN, AND JESSICA ROSENWORCEL.


When will Americans wake up, realize this is not partisan politics, and start punishing ALL the DC politicians for revolving-door nonsense.  Stop protecting this kind of crap in the name of your party!

danastabenow
danastabenow

Didn't he just give us this big song and dance about how he was looking out for the middle class?

kemp13
kemp13

I voted for Obama both times and am glad I did (the alternatives were just not okay). However for the last few years he's seemed like a guy who hot health care through, and he got bin Laden, and now he's just running out the clock. But not fighting for net neutrality is reprehensible. Such a disappointment.

simonzee197340
simonzee197340

What does this say about American voters when these election gurus like David Axelrod and others who were so successful with Obama, and had so much success in America, fizzled or are currently fizzling badly in Australia and Britain.

Americans just keeps showing the big love to big government and now to an administration that is putting an end to "net neutrality."

You guys have to seriously wake up to yourselves and what is happening to your freedoms. You seem to live in a parallel universe where you preach freedom to the world but have an FCC who wants monitors in newsrooms and now a "fast lane," to end "net neutrality."

Big government...big coorporations...but what about the people? You are a nation surrendering to the drug of gradualism. Sound familiar.."drug of gradualism....let righteousness fall...."

Trouble is gradually going backwards is not the state here but speedily as we see with the Mozilla CEO and "hate speech laws," in a state that once burned witches. Now an end to "net neutrality." America is becoming a joke to the world.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/former-obama-adviser-stumbles-in-british-election/

chris.obalestra
chris.obalestra

Obama is a witless worm and we all fell prey to his empty promises and smooth talking. I'm not suprised any more. The history books won't be kind to this man. Even if current society remains confused and generally kind. His legacy will be one of deception and lies on a plethora of important topics that he abandoned the will of the people on in support of a few individuals corrupted by lobbying and capitalism.

lordofthefly
lordofthefly

I must say, I have not been disappointed in Barack Obama's presidential performance. What could anyone expect from someone so ill-prepared for the biggest job on the planet. What he has been able to get in step with is the greed and power thing in D.C. Someone is lining his pockets, namely the corporate titans he pretends to so dislike for their greed.

HoldenInPDX
HoldenInPDX

The premise of this article, that the president "promised" things, is inaccurate, hence any conclusions are without any basis in fact.  We all know the average voter doesn't know what is best for him/her, so it's more important to frame the debate in a fashion most likely to win the most votes, not lay out the actual agenda for the next four/eight years.  Obama, rightly so, pointed to President Bush's Deficit spending as being un-American.  It had, after all, almost reached $500 billion in 2007.  "Unpatriotic" was another effective way in which he characterized it.


Now, If Obama had come out and said, "I'm expecting my Deficit spending to exceed $1 Trillion per year," how many votes would that have cost him?  Had Obama publicly charged the IRS to go after TEA Party groups, prior to his reelection, rather than looking the other way, so Senator Levin and others in Congress could get THEIR hands dirty, that too would have cost him some votes.  Heck, if he had of come flat out after Benghazi and said, "After reducing our security forces in the area to a skeleton crew, a terrorist outfit attacked a Libyan Diplomatic outpost and killed our Ambassador and three others, including two Marines, and we thought better than to do anything about it, since it was 9/11," we could be talking about President Romney right now!!


No, it was too important to the fundamental transformation of America to risk losing the election with the wrong talking points.  As we all see, now, everything is going as planned.  Obama has SLASHED the Deficit, reduced Unemployment, the median income for the average family has SOARED, and all us low and middle class types are cleaning up in the stock market!  Obamacare has made sure that everybody has health insurance and the costs all PLUMMETED!  We've got Obamaphones, Food Stamps and damn-near PERMANENT Unemployment compensation for those who've chosen not to work, now that they have subsidized or free health care.  And just look at all the wonderful green energy projects underway.  Solyndra, Fisker, SunPower, First Solar and so many other fine companies we've helped get up and running.  It's heartwarming to know these companies were generous enough to return the favor to Obama, when he needed campaign funds!


So you see, when in ''campaign mode,'' he never actually "promised" things...that's a ridiculous notion, as he said different things to different interest groups...critical thinkers knew there were inconsistencies, but it was all for the good of the Country!  What's of most importance, right now, is all the damage being done by the Koch brothers.  They are primarily responsible for global warming and are contributing to candidates antithetical to Obama, hence, they need to be stopped!  Instead of worrying about issues over which Obama is in complete control, such as the middle east, Russia, Afghanistan and, yes, this internet thingamabob, we need to put our entire focus on putting a stop to the un-American activities of the Koch brothers, even if it means arresting them and charging them with treason!  After Harry Reid laid out his case against these two fiends, I was shocked to hear that they STILL have not been charged.  If you haven't contacted your Congressman about this, yet, be sure to get on the phone as soon as you finish this message!!  Just say, as nicely as possible, that you demand the Koch brothers be locked up and their money forfeited to the government, for infrastructure repair and additional office furniture for the VA.


With the Koch brothers out of the way, we won't have to worry about our rich guys being outspent by the Republicans, paving the way for either Hillary or Joe.  No time to rock the boat, now, huh?

RickHunter
RickHunter

Obummer lied... is anyone really surprised?  ReBLOODlican, DemoCRIP... it doesn't matter when gang controls the seats of Gov't anymore, they will ALL LIE to get a vote and then reneg on their promises.


Wheeler needs to be fired.  The stupidity of appointing the Cable Companies b(*)tch as head of the FCC is probably the single most stupid Obummer has done in his regime.

MementoMori
MementoMori

The plan the FCC has approved in regards to allowing paid priority for internet bandwidth has not been adopted yet. It has been approved, but they are now in the public comment phase.


This means there is still time.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

So much for the continued Winger claims that he is a Socialist. As a rule Socialists don't tend to do the bidding of big business. We really need a real progressive and not a centrist in the White House in 2016

NoLiars2014
NoLiars2014

Another spineless move from our spineless President. SMH

Opusthedog
Opusthedog

Yet another instance of Weak Kneed Obama rolling over for a corporate interest. This guy will go down in history as one of the weakest presidents in our entire history. From promises made to Main Street, to promises of an open, transparent government, to promises of net neutrality, he just keeps rolling over and over. What a waste he's turned out to be.

MrObvious
MrObvious

This is massively disappointing. It saddens me that money have such a grip on our political system; even the 'wingers support net neutrality of sort. This is simply an unbelievable letdown. I've always maintained that Obama is a centrist and this is one of the reasons why. 


The fast lane BS is simply incomprehensible gibberish. It's bait and switch; I pay for x speed but somehow the a-holes can still throttle that, extorting service provides into paying for faster lane and then put the increased cost on the customer - me. I don't know where wheeler pulled this nonsense from and I'm very disappointing that Obama - the fudging president can't kick his arse in line.

But then I remember how perverse the tentacles of corporate money is in our political system today and on all levels. Wheeler is just another corporate stooge. It's a thank you very much candidate to the very same industry that want to pull this claptrap on us consumers.

And I guess the only way we can get the other side on board is if we also have comcast throttle things like drudge and the blaze.

HoldenInPDX
HoldenInPDX

@simonzee197340 Thanks to Obama, I have a free phone, health care, Food Stamps and Welfare.  Before Obama, I was flippin' burgers for minimum wage...it was AWFUL!  Now, I have my dignity back!  The problem isn't big government, it's the Koch brothers!  All one has to do to understand this is to turn on MSNBC, which I hope Brits and Aussies, alike, are able to receive.  The journalists there have exposed the Kochs for unpatriotic and un-American activities, as has the Senate Majority Leader, the Honorable Harold (Harry) Reid, who points out that the Kochs are the richest men in the world and primarily responsible for polar bears drowning to extinction, for lack of any ice to sit on!  In case you've not heard of it, it's called GLOBAL WARMING and the coastal states, here in America, could be under water in 10-20 years.


The Koch brothers don't care about rising ocean levels because they live on the top of a big hill, so they'll stay dry when the rest of us drown.  Plus, they're contributing all this money to the TEA Party, which is a racist, homophobic organization which wants to take away voting rights from blacks, women, homosexuals and undocumented workers!!  So, don't blame David Axelrod...he got Obama elected...blame the Koch brothers!

68sherm
68sherm

@chris.obalestra Don't go blaming all of us.  Some of us tried to warn you that he was a witless worm.  

lordofthefly
lordofthefly

@HoldenInPDX  

I can't figure out if this is a Colbert-type stab at satire and weird comedy, or if you are serious. Either way, it's funny.

Well done.

MementoMori
MementoMori

 Call the FCC.

Dial 888-225-5322

push 1, 4, 0 (Edit: These options may have changed)

a person will answer.

they will ask for your name and address. you can just give them a zip code if you want.

Tell them, “I’m calling to ask the FCC to reclassify Internet Service Providers as Title Two Common Carriers.”

They’ll ask if there is anything else you would like to add.

"No, Thank you for your time."

hang up.

Last I heard, there was a message asking to send them an e-mail. Don’t do that, call them and talk to them directly.

tommyudo
tommyudo

@mantisdragon91  


Of course, with Hillary it will be a "centrist" in spades, more transparently  beholden to the money boys than Obama. Look for her to run with someone from the Dem wing of the Dem party to pull the wool over our eyes. It won't work with me. I've  given up on the rigged game that is the best politician money can buy electoral system.  What might have a chance to save the system is  public funding for all state and federal elections, with donations capped at $250-500. Since that won't happen under the current paradigm, it looks like I've gone to my last polling booth.

notLostInSpace
notLostInSpace

@MrObvious  I'm not sure that this isn't a strategy for FCC to rein in all control over the internet.  Read the second to last and next to last paragraphs again.   Sometimes you have to take step back to ultimately move forward.  I'm hoping that is the case; otherwise I'd have to agree this is another Obama disappointment. 

tommyudo
tommyudo

@mantisdragon91 @tommyudo  


It doesn't matter anymore. They represent the same interests. I'm not buying the "lesser of two evils" argument any longer. That's for liberals like Obama who are still willing to play patty cake with the GOP, who just want to knock your teeth out. This whole rotten edifice needs a total do over.