** Update: 11/21/2021 @ 21:10 UTC – Article updated with a statement from Brussels Airlines; details below. **
A Brussels Airlines Airbus A330-300 took off from Brussels, Belgium on November 19th to head to New York, United States. However, the twinjet was diverted to Dublin before it had a chance to cross the Atlantic Ocean. The aircraft was forced to make an emergency landing due to an engine failure and has remained in the capital of Ireland for over two days.
Two nights in Europe
According to Aviation24.be, the A330’s crew issued a pan-pan message to inform ATC of the engine issue. One of the Trent 772 engines was shut down and the plane descended before landing safely at Dublin Airport’s runway 28L.
The ten crew members and 154 passengers on the flight then stayed the night in a Dublin hotel. Brussels Airlines eventually sent an A320 to pick up the passengers to carry them to Paris before switching on a flight to New York. However, things didn’t go quite to plan.
Notably, the flights to New York from Paris were packed. As a result, numerous passengers had to remain in another European hotel for one more night.
Word from the ground
Several passengers have complained about the situation that they have been put in. For instance, according to Reuters, Maja Schmidt from Germany, who was traveling to the Big Apple to work as an au pair, said the following:
“They didn’t have anything vegetarian so I ate bread and a cookie. The airline said it had a policy of offering vegetarian meals and blamed the problem on a hotel.”
Brussels Airlines has since shared a statement about the matter. A spokesperson said that the company’s departments in Brussels took on the task of trying to get 154 passengers to New York as soon as possible and arrange overnight stay in Dublin, an airport the carrier doesn’t serve and where it has no local partners.
In normal circumstances we would have looked for alternative rerouting options through our stations in the UK, however because of the active covid-19 measures and restrictions this was not an option. Hence we looked at the best possible stations with the largest availability to JFK, which was Paris. Passengers spending the night in one of the hotels did not receive their wake-up call. Unfortunately, our flight arrived only just in time in Paris and some passengers could not be accepted on one of the flights to JFK. 71 passengers were able to make it in time for their flight with Air France. Our colleagues in Paris then took care of the remaining passengers locally and booked them for another night, this time in Paris. These passengers were able to fly to JFK today, on various different flights.
The airline added that it did its utmost to give care to its customers in difficult circumstances and regrets the inconvenience caused.
It’s anticipated that there will be additional delays across the airline industry heading into Thanksgiving. This holiday is always one of the busiest periods of the year and is often matched by harsh weather conditions to cause struggles for carriers and passengers.
This year, United States-based carriers have been preparing to have enough personnel to handle the festive season rush. The likes of American Airlines and Southwest Airlines have been offering incentives to their staff.
Airline employees are having to deal with many additional stresses in this new climate now that recovery is underway. However, plenty of passengers, including those flying to New York with Brussels Airlines this weekend, have praised crew efforts during these challenging times.
What are your thoughts about these Brussels Airlines passengers being delayed in Europe? Have you experienced anything similar on your travels? Let us know what you think of the overall situation in the comment section.