Singapore Airlines Holds Passengers Hostage Over 8 Hours Without Air Condition On Shanghai Tarmac

Singapore Airlines Holds Passengers Hostage Over 8 Hours Without Air Condition On Shanghai Tarmac

For the second time in a week, Singapore Airlines has made headlines for questionable decision-making for flight operations, and this time it’s especially egregious as passengers on a flight from Shanghai to Singapore were held hostage on a defective plane for eight hours – without properly functioning aircondition.

Following an aborted departure from Shanghai’s Pudong Airport last Wednesday, Singapore Airlines kept passengers on the non-airconditioned A380 for over eight hours before eventually cancelling the flight.

Passengers reported that the situation was intolerable and people didn’t feel well. According to media reports, it was amazing that none of the people on board fainted, given the conditions of high temperature and bad air.

As reported by the Straits Times, the aircraft had a malfunction and was worked on by mechanics all while the crew and ground management refused to return to the gate or order buses to let people off.

Passengers on board a flight bound for Singapore from Shanghai on Wednesday were stuck in the plane for nearly eight hours due to a technical fault.

Singapore Airlines (SIA) Flight SQ833 was scheduled to leave Shanghai Pudong International Airport at 4.50pm on Wednesday and arrive in Singapore around 10.20pm.

In response to queries from The Straits Times, an SIA spokesman said the Airbus A380 had encountered technical issues while it was still on the ground in Shanghai.

The spokesman added: “The aircraft returned to the bay and engineers were brought on-site to try to rectify the issue. For safety reasons, the ground power had to be disabled while the checks were going on.”

Passengers on board were served meals and refreshments, and ground staff were also present to assist passengers, said the spokesman, who added that the flight was subsequently cancelled as more time was required to fix the issues.

“Customers disembarked the aircraft at 12.30am and hotel accommodation was arranged,” said the spokesman. “All affected customers were rebooked on other flights (on Thursday) and have since departed Shanghai.”

The spokesman explained that passengers were made to remain on board as the engineers tried to rectify the technical issues to facilitate a quicker departure if the issues could be resolved. However, the fault persisted “throughout the evening”, leading to the cancellation.

“We recognise that the customers could have been allowed to leave the aircraft earlier. SIA apologises to the affected customers for this and we will review our procedures to avoid a recurrence,” the spokesman said. …

“The captain said there was a technical error and was waiting for the engineer to diagnose (the problem),” said the 32-year-old port operation executive. “(He) asked us to wait for 30 minutes, and then one hour. The engine was turned off twice. Without air conditioning, everyone was so hot in there. It was lucky no one fainted.” …

Absolutely crazy what was done here, and the responsibility for this lies solely with the captain and the inflight cabin manager, who should have assessed the situation in the passenger cabin and let people off the aircraft.

It would have been best if one of the passengers had demanded medical attention so that they had no choice other than to open the aircraft doors and let people off. I’m surprised that the passengers didn’t revolt and cause a riot on board, to be honest.

No doubt Singapore Airlines will once again refuse proper, adequate compensation in this case and will only give useless lip service. The problem with this airline is that as long as things go smoothly, all is nice and well, but as soon as the maneur hits the fan, the airline is totally inflexible. Everyone on board should receive a full refund for this flight without individual request.

Just last week, SIA also made news as a New Zealand couple made public that the airline allowed a dog without a carrier on the aircraft that allegedly “farted and snorted” throughout the flight. The animal was an “emotional support dog” which falls under different rules than “Pet In Cabin”animals.

These French Bulldog breeds have a lot of trouble breathing properly, even on the ground, and in my opinion as a dog owner and animal lover, it’s totally cruel and irresponsible of the owner to take the poor dog on a plane just so he can have his own emotional kinks evened out.

The SIA crew on that flight was notified but – just as on the Shanghai flight – did absolutely nothing. If an animal is visibly unsuitable or (even worse) uncomfortable, then the crew should have refused to let the dog fly.

Since April 1, SIA has banned emotional support dogs on board its flights, though it is still honoring travel for customers – and their dogs – who had made a request and submitted the required documentation prior to the date.


Singapore Airlines is repeatedly in the news these days for making bad decisions that impact the passenger’s comfort. First, the unacceptable 8-hour ordeal in Shanghai where the flight’s crew refused to get the passengers back to the terminal and held them hostage on an un-air-conditioned aircraft for the duration of a long haul flight while not moving even an inch.

Then, in unrelated news, the situation of the emotional support dog that was suffering from some discomfort but which was still allowed on the flight. Without a carrier on top of it all.

I’m not sure what happened with Singapore Airlines since the pandemic, but there seems to be a complete disregard for common sense and procedure. Hopefully, all passengers in question will be compensated appropriately, and they will file complaints with regulators.

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