MOSCOW — Just about all seasoned vacationers know the frustration of flight delays — the time wasted puttering in an airport, ready in a resort room or, maybe worst of all, caught on the tarmac in an idled airplane.
However how about three days stranded in Siberia?
That was the nightmare skilled by the passengers and crew of Air France Flight 116 this week, when their Boeing 777 was diverted to town of Irkutsk on Sunday, about 2,600 miles east of Moscow, after an acrid scent and lightweight smoke wafted via the cabin.
The 282 passengers sat on the airplane for some six hours earlier than being allowed to disembark.
However a cold reception then awaited — each actually (at one level it was round 1 diploma Fahrenheit, or minus 17 Celsius, outdoors) and figuratively, with passengers compelled to remain throughout the confines of the airport or two inns the place they have been put up as a result of they lacked entry visas. Initially, they have been denied entry to their baggage as effectively.
To make issues worse, a second Boeing 777 despatched from Paris to select up the passengers, who have been touring from the French capital to Shanghai, additionally broke down earlier than takeoff in Irkutsk because the hydraulic system froze. That led to a different lengthy wait on the tarmac in Siberia, earlier than the passengers have been as soon as once more advised to deplane.
“We’re soiled, we scent, it’s now over 30 hours that we’re below home arrest, and not using a suitcase or passport,” Eleanor Joulie, one of those stranded, wrote on Twitter on Monday, after the ordeal was barely half over.
Lastly, a 3rd plane flew them to Shanghai Pudong Worldwide Airport on Wednesday, in keeping with Air France.
Among the many vacationers caught in Irkutsk have been staff of Louis Vuitton, the posh items model, together with a number of social media managers whose Instagram posts displayed a combination of frustration and mirth because the misadventure dragged on. They cooled their heels at a London-themed pub of their resort and posted a six-second video on YouTube pretending to be the opening credit of an imaginary TV collection referred to as “Caught in Siberia.”
The episode prompted loads of jokes from Russians on social media, partly as a result of the story echoed the plot of a preferred 1970s Soviet comedy referred to as “The Unbelievable Adventures of Italians in Russia.”
Many additionally pilloried officers in Irkutsk for not letting the foreigners go searching — Lake Baikal, one of many wonders of Siberia, was solely about an hour’s drive away. Others supplied to point out passengers the sights in the event that they returned below extra nice circumstances.
As for any recompense resembling vouchers, the airline mentioned it had “contacted the shoppers involved to suggest appropriate business measures.”