Passengers suffer hours of stifling heat as takeoff delayed
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Passengers suffer hours of stifling heat as takeoff delayed

Aircon broken on Qatar flight, captain would not let them leave

Chaos inside Qatar Airways flight QR204 as passengers are left uninformed and baking in the heat for hours as the aircon failed while the plane sat on the tarmac instead of taking off from Athens airport on Monday. (Photo: screen capture from Thannachai Sidsongpeenong Facebook account)
Chaos inside Qatar Airways flight QR204 as passengers are left uninformed and baking in the heat for hours as the aircon failed while the plane sat on the tarmac instead of taking off from Athens airport on Monday. (Photo: screen capture from Thannachai Sidsongpeenong Facebook account)

Members of the Thai Muay Thai team returning from the world championships were among passengers on a Qatar flight who endured three hours without airconditioning while the plane waited on the tarmac at Athens airport.

Flight QR204 was carrying 49 members of the Thai boxing team and accompanying Thai reporters. They were heading home on Monday from the IFMA Senior World Championships in Patras, Greece, flying out of Athens International Airport to Bangkok via Doha.

A Matichon reporter on the flight said the airconditioning system was out of order but the captain did not allow passengers to leave the aircraft. They were kept on the plane for three hours without aircon, the doors closed, and not knowing what was happening, Matichon Online reported.

The captain eventually informed the passengers he was fixing the aircon system, but by then it was like an oven inside the passenger cabin. It was so hot that some travellers had nose bleeds, others needed oxygen and children were crying, he said.

A video posted online by Matichon showed some male passengers shirtless, bare to the waist, and other passengers using sheets of paper as fans.

The reporter said that only after passengers protested loudly and argued with the cabin crew were they  allowed to get off the plane and wait on the tarmac.

A video taken from the tarmac by Louise Morfis showed smoke coming from the rear of the plane.

The reporter said passengers were never informed about what really occurred.

"I was in shock. But now I feel that I was lucky to get through the situation," boxer Thannachai Sidsongpeenong was quoited as saying. (continues below)

Smoke can be seen near the tail of Qatar Airways flight  QR204 at Athens International Airport on Monday. (Photo: Screen capture from Matichon Online video taken by Louise Morfis)

The reporter's account was supported by a man posting on the X plaform as @chriszeiher.

"What is going on with the @qatarairways QR204 flight out of Athens? Board the flight after smoke is seen billowing from plane, leave everyone on the plane for 3 hrs, no air con is stifling heat only to (surprise) remove everyone as the plane is malfunctioning? @SkyNewsAus," he wrote.

Other travellers on the flight directed their anger at the airline's Facebook account with descriptions of what was going on inside. "There is no AC in the plane and you are not letting your passengers off the plane which is almost 40 degrees on the plane. My daughter is on this flight and she can't even breathe properly. Some of your passengers are fainting," one person posted on Facebook.

There has been no response from Qatar Airways.

QR204 was scheduled to leave Athens at 1.55pm and arrive in Doha at 6.20pm. The flight's departure was finally delayed for a day. It departed the Greek capital at 6.27am on Tuesday and reached Doha at 10.34am, according to the airline's website.

Qatar Airways uses a Boeing 777-300ER jet on the flight.

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