Singapore Airlines Reportedly Kept Passengers On Plane For 3 Hours Without Air-Conditioning

What should have been an easy 4-hour flight from Singapore to Kolkata, India, turned into a nightmare for passengers, well before take-off.

That’s what a passenger aboard the flight is alleging on Facebook.

Ms Chandni Doulatramani complains that flight attendants were rude to passengers and that passengers were kept in the aircraft cabin without ventilation for nearly an hour.

Her comments were accompanied by a video.

Viewed nearly 80,000 times, the video shows passengers talking to airport police aboard the Singapore Airlines flight.

We breakdown Ms Doulatramani’s dramatic allegations after the jump.

1. Boarding bus issues

It’s surprising that Singapore Airlines uses tarmac boarding in this day and age, but that’s probably not the airline’s fault.

But anyway, passengers on board SQ516 were put on a bus that would take them to their aircraft, a Singapore Airlines Airbus A330.

That journey was anything but smooth, according to Ms Doulatramani.

She writes,

The driver started the bus, moved it by half an inch and then got off the bus. He repeated this four times. Every time we thought we were going to leave, he got off.

This didn’t last for 5 or 10 minutes; Ms Doulatramani says passengers were stuck on the bus for 30 minutes.

Frustrated with the situation, passengers spoke to an airport executive to allow them to wait at the terminal instead.

The flight’s scheduled time of departure was 9.10pm but passengers finally boarded at around 9.30pm.

2. Air-conditioning issues

Then, when they were all aboard the plane, the captain allegedly told them that the air-conditioning wasn’t working.

Ms Doulatramani says,

Every five minutes the captain kept giving us live updates on the PA system — “the engineer is on his way”, “the engineer is here and it will be fixed soon”, “please bear with us, the temperature will increase for ten minutes before it starts cooling”.

But she adds that that never happened.

Passengers remained on the stuffy aircraft for 30 minutes, waiting desperately for some reprieve from the heat.

3. Cabin crew issues

During this time, Singapore Airlines cabin crew allegedly did little to help passengers.

Ms Doulatramani claims that they were flippant and even rude to passengers, initially refusing to serve them refreshments.

Several passengers were sick from the experience, she adds, saying that 2 women were throwing up profusely.

When asked what was happening, crew members allegedly told passengers,

We are in the same situation as you are, don’t ask us, we don’t know anything!

Airport police were also called in to speak to passengers.

But according to Ms Doulatramani, they did little to help matters.

Finally, 3 hours later, the pilot announced that they were ready to depart.

Given the delay to fix what had been a “minor issue”, passengers were nervous about flying that particular aircraft.

Ms Doulatramani notes,

In a situation like this, we expected the cabin crew to help us understand the problem and reassure us that it was fixed and safe to fly.

She raised her concern with a male cabin crew. Overhearing this, a female cabin crew allegedly told her colleague to ignore Ms Doulatramani.

When I told her how can you ask your staff to ignore a passenger, her response was that she didn’t have time for this!

After all this drama, SQ516 finally took off around midnight on Jun 9, nearly 3 hours behind schedule.

Did race play a part?

Ms Doulatramani further alleged that Singapore Airlines had treated passengers that way because it was a flight bound for India.

I strongly believe that this outright racist and dehumanising behaviour was meted out to us because we are Indians and the superiority complex was beyond evident. I wonder if they would have behaved the same way with passengers in an aircraft flying to New York or London. Well, you know the answer.

Singapore’s flag carrier has responded to Ms Doulatramani’s allegations. The airline told The Straits Times,

We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused to our customers on board. With regards to the online post, we take these claims seriously and will be looking into them thoroughly.

The airline did not address the larger, racial implications of Ms Doulatramani’s post.

Featured image from Singapore Airlines and Facebook.