여객기 지연은 불가피한 현실이다. 한국 여행객에게도 매우 익숙한 일인데, 작년엔 기체 결함으로 아시아나 항공 손님들이 공항에서 6시간이나 대기해야 한 사례도 있다.
그런데 에어컨까지 멈춘 뜨거운 여객기 안에서 6시간을 대기해야 하는 어처구니 없는 사건이 어제 있었다. MiamiHerald에 의하면 에어트란샛 157편은 브뤼셀을 떠나 캐나다 몬트리올을 향한 노선이었다. 그런데 몬트리올 부근의 거센 비바람 때문에 이 비행기는 오타와 공항으로 우회됐고 오후 5시쯤 도착했다.
그리고 활주로에 멈춘 여객기 안의 승객 336명이 장장 6시간을 그 상태로 대기했다고 MontrealGazette는 보도했다.
캡션: 에어트란샛 비행기를 타고 오타와에 도착한 지 벌써 5시간이다. 에어컨도 고장 났고 공기도 안 통한다. 이건 비인간적이다. 아이들을 동행한 부모들은 어쩔 줄 모르고 있다! 이 글을 공유하기 바란다.
참다못한 한 승객은 119를 호출했다.
구조원들이 도착했지만, 자기들 소관이 아니어서 어쩔 수 없다고 했는데, 겨우 승무원들이 승객들에게 물을 나눠주는 거로 끝났다.
한 승객이 올린 아래 트위터 동영상엔 119를 호출한 사람이 누군지 밝히라고 채근하는 승무원 목소리가 들린다.
캡션: 에어컨이 작동하지 않는다. 숨 막히는 5시간 끝에 119를 부른 사람을 밝히겠다고 저 야단이다.
— Brice de Schietere (@BriceBxl) August 1, 2017
이번 사건을 계기로 승객 '권리장전'을 입법화하겠다는 움직임에 속도가 붙고 있다. CBC에 의하면 캐나다 교통부 관계자 카렌 맥크리먼은 "항공사가 승객을 이런 식으로 취급하지 못하게 하는... 그런 법이 될 거다."라고 장담했다.
이 법이 통과된다면 항공사는 여객기를 활주로에서 3시간 이상 대기 할 수 없게 되며 그 조항을 어길 경우 벌금을 물어야 한다.
캡션: 비인간적인 처사다. 이 정도로 지연되면 승객에게 비행기에서 내릴 권리를 줘야 한다.
Inhumane treatment. Air Travellers must be given right 2 GET OFF plane when delays reach point of absurdity https://t.co/uU6msUlVo6
— Andrew Scheer (@AndrewScheer) August 1, 2017
잘잘못에 대해 에어트란샛과 공항 당국은 대립된 입장이다.
에어트란샛은 오타와 공항으로 "거의 30편"의 비행기가 우회됐고 그 결과 게이트에 승객을 내릴 수 없는 "예외적인" 상황이었다고 했는데, 이에 대해 공항 당국은 30편이 아니라 20편에 가까웠고 대부분 3시간 이내에 재급유를 마친 후 떠났다고 밝혔다.
아래 슬라이드는 옆으로 밀면 된다.
Even after the current downgrading, JetBlue's extra legroom still beats any other airline. The de facto charge for a checked bag, at $15 over the minimum fare, is less than on most other airlines. The satellite-based Wi-Fi is free, at slow speeds, and $9 an hour for enough bandwidth to stream movies. And seats in JetBlue's Airbus planes are an inch wider than on any competitors' 737s. Related: 7 Embarrassing Travel Gadgets That Actually Work (Photo: JetBlue)
Its "two checked bags at no extra charge" and "no ticket-change penalty" policies make Southwest a clear winner for being nice to customers. Fortunately, at least so far, Southwest seems to have convinced Wall Street that those passenger-friendly policies gain more revenue in total customers than it would gain by imposing fees and losing customers. With other giant carriers charging checked bag fees of $25 a pop, even one checked bag gives Southwest a $50 round-trip fare advantage. Southwest has even managed to tame the chaos of its unique no-advance-assignment boarding process: You get your boarding group and number when you check in, which you can do online starting 24 hours before departure; at the airport, you line up according to number, and get on the plane with a minimum of pushing and shoving. (Photo: Southwest Airlines)
At least for now, Alaska Airlines' Mileage Plan seems more generous than the big-line programs that are moving toward dollar-based earnings and rewards. You still get one mile for every mile flown, and the award chart mileage requirements are less than the effective requirements on the giant airlines. Alaska still has useful partnerships with Air France/KLM, American, British Airways, Delta, Korean, Qantas, and a few others. We don't know how long Alaska will retain its current system, but it's a winner as long as today's rules remain. If you accumulate miles or points through a credit card that allows transfers, such as American Express, the award chart for Air Canada's Aeroplan is more generous than current big lines' plans. But you get only partial mileage credit when you fly on Air Canada's lowest fares. Related: 6 Ways to Get the Best Coach Seat Every Time (Photo: Alaska Airlines)
Yes, JetBlue beats it by the measurements, but Virgin America keeps earning great survey ratings for its flashy decor, well-trained flight attendants, top inflight technology, and general flair. Obviously, lots of travelers like what it has to offer. You might like it, too. The "Branson cool factor" also applies to Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Australia. (Photo: Virgin America)
The nod for best ultra-low-fare carrier for coach-class service goes to Allegiant, not because of its base product—which is down there with Spirit in terms of sheer torture—but because it alone brings the only low-fare mainline service to dozens of communities where travelers would otherwise have to rely on regional flights to nearby hubs, with the usual hassle, wasted time, and high fares of hub connections. Allegiant's "nowhere to somewhere" business model gives travelers to/from communities as small as Hagerstown, Missoula, Owensboro, Provo, South Bend, and Stockton access to nonstop flights to 16 of the country's primary leisure travel destinations, including Honolulu, Las Vegas, Myrtle Beach, Orlando, and Phoenix. If you live in or near a big city, you'd never even think about Allegiant. But it's a no-brainer if you live in the sticks. Related: How to Get a Refund on a Non-Refundable Flight (Photo: Allegiant via Chris Parypa Photography/Shutterstock.com)
Southwest is the only airline to offer useful senior fares for travelers 65 or over. Senior fares aren't as low as Southwest's initial lowest "Wanna Get Away" fares for travelers of any age, but when those lowest-fare buckets sell out or when they're no longer available less than a week in advance, Southwest's unrestricted senior fares are usually a lot less than any remaining any-age fares. (Photo: Southwest Airlines)
JetBlue, which starts out with a 1- to 3-inch advantage for regular coach, retains a similar advantage for its extra-legroom cabin. And the price, capped at $90 for a transcontinental flight, is likely to be lower than the variable prices other airlines charge. This is a big advantage JetBlue has over Virgin America, the one airline that surveys usually place in the same class as JetBlue. On Virgin America, the extra-legroom seats, limited to bulkhead and exit rows, cost more than three times the regular-coach fare: more than $900 on a transcon, for example, compared with a base coach fare of $300. Yes, you get extras along with the legroom, but that huge fare premium is a deal breaker for someone who just wants enough space to use an e-reader or tablet comfortably. Related: 10 Tasty Carry-on Snacks You Can Make Yourself (Photo: JetBlue)
Japan Airlines' new-design Sky Wider economy seats provide the roomiest international economy class you can currently find. Contrary to what most other airlines are doing, JAL is sticking with eight-across seats in its 787s and nine-across in its 777s. That's one fewer seat in each row than the current standard among most other lines, and the remaining seats are almost two inches wider than competitors' seats. The new cabins also offer an industry-leading 34-inch pitch, compared with the 30- to 32-inch pitch you find on most other intercontinental airlines. The onboard catering generally earns high marks, as well; economy travelers enjoy individual 10-inch screens, and the new 777s and 787s provide satellite-based Wi-Fi. Related: 8 Foods You Should Never Eat Before Flying (Photo: Japan Airlines via Vytautas Kielaitis/Shutterstock.com)
Like JAL, Turkish is sticking with nine-across seating in its 777s, and the onboard service generally earns high marks. Swiss International also rises above others for catering. (Photo: Turkish Airlines)
Norwegian flies 787s from a handful of U.S. cities to Scandinavia and from Los Angeles or New York to London/Gatwick. It recently started flying from Baltimore, Boston, and New York to Guadeloupe and Martinique. Fares are usually—although not always—lower than on the giant airlines, and its 787 product is on par with what the big competitors offer. Related: We Flew on Norwegian's 787 Dreamliner (and It Was Awesome) (Photo: Norwegian Air)
The giant airlines will charge you around $1,200 for a nonstop summer round-trip flight between New York and Paris in a cattle-car economy cabin. But two people paying $1,495 each can move up to an angle-flat business-class seat, with business-class cabin service, on La Compagnie, the niche French airline offering low-cost business-class service from Newark to London/Luton and Paris/DeGaulle. La Compagnie's current fare is almost $1,000 less than the premium economy fares on Open Skies or Air France. The price gap between regular economy and La Compagnie isn't always this small. But whenever it is, you sure feel better when you arrive in London or Paris after an overnight in business class than in economy. It's worth considering. Related: 7 Secrets of Ultra-Cheap Europe Flights (Photo: La Compagnie)
The Embraer 170/175/190/195 series might seem a surprise call, but seats are at least as wide as on A320 series, and they're all two-by-two, with no middles. You never feel bottled up the way those 737s and A320s make you feel. And while it's not technically an airline, this aircraft makes the list because you should look for it when searching for any short-haul coach-class flight. You Might Also Like: 10 Free Things You Can Get at the Airport 10 Things You Should Pack (But Probably Won't) 10 Ways to Speed Through Airport Security (Photo: Thinkstock/iStock)