View Full Version : Overnight at the Hotel 747-400

Speed of Sound
5th Feb 2004, 09:12
During the bad weather at LHR last week, an acquaintance of mine was left, along with the rest of the PAX, to sleep onboard the 747-400 of a major carrier while it was still at the gate due to cancellation.

Apparently both the flight crew and cabin crew left the aircraft at around 2.0am. leaving the PAX to 'fend for themselves' until 7.00am. the next morning when they were asked to leave the aircraft while it was cleaned and re-supplied.

She is obviously not a happy bunny and would like to know what the legal implications are, of leaving nearly three hundred passengers, many drunk, unsupervised, overnight aboard a parked aircraft.

She would also like to know the reason for the delay. The PAX were told by the flight crew at midnight that once the aircraft had been de-iced it could go. I had heard that by that time there was nothing going in or out of LHR due to runway closure.

Any answers anyone?


5th Feb 2004, 10:06
Pax left onboard with NO cabin crew?
Doesn't sound logical to me but...if the CC down tools (so to speak) and just walked off, would think there would be repercussions from the CAA.

5th Feb 2004, 11:52
Certainly would be a problem with the regs in the US...

5th Feb 2004, 14:40
And in the UK, big time! I find it very hard to believe that this happened, since all Crew, Flight & Cabin would be well aware that that this is not permitted. CAA might well spontaneously combust if they became aware of this happening.

Are you sure that this isn't a misunderstanding?
Per Ardua Ad Ibiza

5th Feb 2004, 17:40
Without the flight crew it would have been very cold and dark with no power all night. Somehow i can't see this happening. May want to double check the facts before you take it any further. Just a thought.

5th Feb 2004, 17:53
Sounds like a MSFS script kiddie's w#t dream come true:E

5th Feb 2004, 19:12


Imagine you wake up and feel the engines at full thrust and the aircraft plowing through the terminal with a 13 year old kid behind of the controls. :} :{

6th Feb 2004, 00:18
Well would it be that cold and dark if the power supply was plugged in at the gate? doesn't that run heating and lighting systems?

6th Feb 2004, 01:11
Does that not mean leaving ground power on, supplying the cabin bus? Sounds a little scary to me, if the aircraft was unattended.

6th Feb 2004, 01:22
After posting that this scenario would be problematic under US regs, I couldn’t shake the idea of how absurd this is. Where’s the benefit to the carrier in having pax remain, unsupervised, on board (and thus, in control of) this huge corporate asset? Wx strands pax in airports all the time. There’s just no reason to leave them on the airframe. What’s more, these passengers also had full access to the ramp and everything else on the airside at LHR. Is this not seen as a security issue at LHR? Finally, even if we allow for the possibility that the crew did this, what about gate agents, etc? Was there no one who took issue with this? With all respect, I find this difficult to fathom. However, if it DID happen as advertised, it is indicative of a systemic failure…


Jim Morehead
6th Feb 2004, 01:48
Hey...whaddaya want for a $59 ticket? And you want to eat and drink for that price???

6th Feb 2004, 01:59
Speed of Sound,

I can't see how this could have happened, are you sure there is no misunderstanding here? If it's true, something is very wrong.

Dan Winterland
6th Feb 2004, 04:25
Sounds like b@llocks to me. Light: yes, heat : not without flight deck or an engineer on board to supervise the continous running of the APU. If no APU, the cabin temp would have dropped to well below the comfort threshold very quickly.

West Coast
6th Feb 2004, 12:10
Does the 747-400 have a port accept external conditioned air?

Jim Morehead
6th Feb 2004, 15:12
YES...it does most everything. 3 packs. external air. APU with two sides to it. Fueling both wings. Lots of toilets....But they still run out of beer!

6th Feb 2004, 15:53
Sounds like a load of old balls to me. The DFT would never allow this to happen, given the state of the security at the moment. But personally, I couldn't think of anything worse than 'sleeping' overnight there, unless it was in 1st - I'd sooner sleep on the floor in the terminal!


Speed of Sound
6th Feb 2004, 17:29
Hey...whaddaya want for a $59 ticket? And you want to eat and drink for that price???

That's quite funny as it was a major carrier concerned.

I have checked back and YES this did happen as I reported.

No complaints about temp so some form of heating was in operation.

Not sure whether to mention the carrier or not.


6th Feb 2004, 17:49
Probably not a good idea to post the carrier name on here, but I'd certainly include it in a letter to the DFT. As long as you're sure...

Can we have some more detail?

Where were the gate agents? Did they pull the air-bridge away?

Kishna: I agree, I think I'd rather kip on the terminal floor as well!

6th Feb 2004, 17:52
I find it a little strange that one of the 400 odd (p1ssed off) pax didn't call the quality newspapers when it happended - soley for reasons of exposing yet another aviation security breach of course... :mad:

Or perhaps the crew knew the Sky Marshalls would keep the pax under control!:rolleyes:

6th Feb 2004, 17:59
Which carrier was involved?
I'm a bit surprised...

6th Feb 2004, 19:32
I can imagine this (perhaps) at some sort of God-forsaken mid-ocean diversion (Narssuasaq, say) - but at LHR? Hardly a shortage of facilities of any kind, and with the Press just a local rate phone call and 20 minutes down the M4 away?

Nigel Molesworth
7th Feb 2004, 02:32
Sounds like someone's alibi for a husband/boyfreind to me!:ok:

Kaptin M
7th Feb 2004, 02:52
This doesn't ring true.

There must have been some crew onboard to handle an evacuation in case of fire, regardless of country or airline concerned.

7th Feb 2004, 11:34
Are you sure the cabin crew were not in the bunks,perhaps 3
to a bunk!.Also,give us a clue,which terminal?

Dr. Red
7th Feb 2004, 16:03
I find this very, very hard to believe. With 400 pax, this would HAVE to get into the media - and with post 9-11 security, they would be all over it.

I call B.S.

7th Feb 2004, 18:45
Quite unbelievable..

There MUST have been at least minimum crew on board. Who will evacuate the A/C in case of fire?
I can´t believe, that this could have happened without major consequences for everybody concerned, from the groundagent to the flight att. to the cockpit crew.

Maybe they weren´t very visible, but i believe they were there..

Greetings from "Old Europe"

Old Man Rotor
7th Feb 2004, 20:11
I just completed a search on the many many posts of Mr Speed of Sound.

He or she has never ever posted anything technical, specific or intelligent................just a heap of General, Provocative and Sensationalist posts, he/she is winding you up, and your falling for it hook line and sinker!

Drop over to Rotorheads every now and again....we normally sort these dicks out very quickly!

8th Feb 2004, 03:14
What a load of 3rd hand hearsay b@llocks!

Speed of Sound
9th Feb 2004, 22:48
Can we have some more detail?

Yes. Apparently there were some ground ops staff on board during the night. And the air bridge was redeployed to allow smokers into the departure gate (at Terminal 3).

The person who told me this, who was on board that night, has now received a letter of apology from the carrier concerned with an offer of compensation. Not exactly the actions of a blameless company. She has also made a report to the CAA and BAA Heathrow, who both confirmed that hers wasn't the only complaint that had been made.

I assume that Old Man Rotor has a connection with the carrier concerned as he appears to be keen to supress discussion of this topic.


Few Cloudy
9th Feb 2004, 23:26
Another one for the collection.

10th Feb 2004, 00:02
If (Big If) This is true then name the carrier. Agree with everyone else though, it would be out in the open by now and I see no reason why pax would be kept on board-especially in the current climate, at LHR.

10th Feb 2004, 05:37
There is NO way that this can be true. If the aircraft had been on the ground and the passengers had been kept onboard then i'm sure one of them would of put in a call to a newspaper! And what would of happended to the passengers who had friends/family meeting them at the other end - did they stay onboard the aircraft and not bother to tell them?

Pure fiction in my opinion!

Old Man Rotor
10th Feb 2004, 10:21
Just can smell a wind up when I see it.

But you have been good so far...and got this thread into its 3rd page...well done.

Wonder why all the lower level journalists have not picked up on this post?

Perhaps they can also smell!!!

But then again, perhaps you are one.

10th Feb 2004, 10:30
Lets face it - stranger things happen at sea! I cant believe most of you lot cant believe it when bigger disasters have happened with aircraft going down from 9/11 to the stewardess surviving an explosion from an aircraft at over 30000 feet in the 70's?
Why do people drive down a street the wrong way and get away with it in some countries? How did Princess Ann stop her dog from getting put down? Nobody died, just a few people got pissed and some more pissed off!!!

Bob Upndown
11th Feb 2004, 12:07
Nothing adds up on this one. Another point in question - deploying jetbridge to allow smokers into 'departure gate' (I'm guessing you mean the gate room?)- no way would BAA allow this.

SoS, come on, fess up once and for all, what's your agenda?

11th Feb 2004, 20:06
I've watched this thread since it started and I feel that some of you are missing the point. Just because it should not happen does not mean that it will not.

Phrases like, "no way would BAA allow this" and, "the DFT would never allow this to happen" show that you have not been at Heathrow at 0200. Even the Jobsworths have gone home at that time.

Imagine. Flight crew get off because they are out of hours. One of them vaguely remembers that it is OK to leave it full of passengers as there is "engineering cover" - but he is just the charge hand doing the oils and looks like an engineer.

Cabin crew get antsy half an hour later and tell the last remaining ground agent that they are getting off. "You can't do that!"....

Watch us. Es no mio probleme.

During the night the occasional ground agent might look in to see what's going on or an engineer might appear to do a bit of light maintenance. APU keeps going.

Passengers wander into the gate lounge. Smoke, stretch, get bored, sleep.

Morning shift come on and find aircraft full of people, so do the normal thing and dispatch it. Tracking have meanwhile found a new flight and cabin crew and all goes ahead.

I've seen all of this. Not on the same day and the same flight, but it can all come together on one day. Maybe it did.

11th Feb 2004, 20:54
Fair point, just cos it shouldn't doesn't mean it doesn't.
However I think this is just pushing it too far IMHO.

12th Feb 2004, 02:40
Incident happened as described. Airline was Korean. Flight was cancelled at 0230 when it finally became apparent that the flight was not going to depart that night. No hotels or transport available at this time so both the passengers and CREW remained on the aircraft for the rest of the evening.

12th Feb 2004, 03:09
Exactly what I was thinking!

What implications does this have for the crew going out of hours?

Does it count when they are on the ground?

12th Feb 2004, 04:08
Whatever the (regulatory) implications of going over on hours, seems to me they pale in comparison to leaving the pax on the airframe without adult supervision.

So, pax were not alone on the aircraft. My faith is restored. Thankfully it turned out to be good, old-fashioned crew abuse. Bad, but perhaps not unbelievably stupid.


12th Feb 2004, 04:16
And people wonder why some of us still have reservations about flying Korean:(

Speed of Sound
12th Feb 2004, 08:02
Incident happened as described. Airline was Korean.

Ah! So it was more than one carrier!

The incident I reported was not Korean. In some ways this makes it even more bizarre. I was beginning to think that I was living in some Lewis Carroll story! I knew what I reported was true but seemingly I was the only one. Now we find out that at least two carriers cancelled late at night and left the PAX on board, and no-one on this forum has even heard a whisper despite the large number of Heathrow staff who post here!

In the case I reported, the flight and cabin crew definitely left the aircraft and the flight next afternoon left with a completely new crew.

The journalist accusations are quite interesting. What possible agenda could I have in fabricating such a story? If I was a journalist who had got a whiff of a story and wanted more info, as has been pointed out a number of times on this thread, there would be more than enough angry passengers more than willing to tell their story.

An apology from Old Man Rotor?

Speed of Sound

12th Feb 2004, 08:16
Ah! So it was more than one carrier!


The Korean had crew and pax on board . Your story is the flight and cabin crew definitely left the aircraft

With respect, two very different stories.


Speed of Sound
12th Feb 2004, 08:21
Fair point.

What I meant was there were at least two carriers that cancelled flights late and left the passengers on board. The crew leaving the aircraft was only part of the story.


12th Feb 2004, 14:48
"engineering cover" - but he is just the charge hand doing the oils and looks like an engineer.

'Ere, what do you mean? Servicing is an important function!


Old Man Rotor
12th Feb 2004, 16:49
SOS, I have no problem with my Ego, and will eat humble pie with the best of em....in fact our crew make me do that regularly.

But your playing with words now.....the Korean thing is a red herring, as I have also sat [daytime] for 3.5 hours at Heathrow when the Bridge would not retract and then the tug wasn't there when the second departure slot time past.

But that was fine, as is the Korean thing as the crew were there and supervising the show.

Your initial post still stands as a "Wind Up" with NO crew, until some hard data says this security breach actually occurred.

Then my friend you can have as much pie as you can swallow.

12th Feb 2004, 20:51
Agree with rotor - Korean sounds like an aircraft which missed slots and kept the pax on - happened to me many times, once for 4 hours. SoS still think you're talking bo@+£$ks. Either come up with facts - it has no bearing on you proving it - or shut your mouth and please let this disappear off the bottom of the screen.

13th Feb 2004, 06:12
Sorry Bus, I didn't mean to offend - without the oil we go nowhere. It's just that many flight crew have no idea of the functions of the various engineering staff that surround an aircraft. You will still see guys waving the tech log at a refueller...

Perhaps a system of recognition uniforms, white coats for supervisors and hi-vis overalls for mechanics. Then we know who to approach for a particular problem.

Speed of Sound
18th Feb 2004, 09:47
He or she has never ever posted anything technical, specific or intelligent

Just can smell a wind up when I see it.

SoS, come on, fess up once and for all, what's your agenda?

- or shut your mouth and please let this disappear off the bottom of the screen.

So what's with all this antagonism and allegations?

All I did was post up a report of something that I was told by a trusted friend which has been verified by others on that flight and now by correspondence I have seen with the carrier concerned.

I can understand some people finding it funny that no-one else on this forum could verify what I had claimed, but instead of a serious discussion about something which should be of concern to all in aviation, most replys consisted of 'this must be a wind up' or 'you must be a journalist'

For those who want further information I suggest you contact Japan Air Lines and ask them about Flight JAL 244 on 29 January 2004.


18th Feb 2004, 21:09
Very interesting commends on this thread, however rescue 3 you are right on this one. It was the JL422 to KIX and finally operated the next day around mid afternoon, after the shambles of the night before, with regards to BAA, de-icing equip, hotel rooms, and not to mention transportation for hundreds of pax. From wot I believe it was a joke that night at LHR (in general)and wot happened wasnt the first nor the last.

Speed of Sound
19th Feb 2004, 03:32
SoS, you wouldn't happen to mean the JAL422 28 Jan 04?. Flt was delayed due to wx at LHR until lunchtime 29/04 when it operated outbound as the JAL422D.

That's the one. Eventually left LHR at about 14.10. on the 29th.

Lots of f**k ups at LHR that night but looks like Japan were trying to avoid the costs of overnight transport and accomodation and got caught out when the flight was eventually cancelled. Flight and cabin crew departed, leaving a handful of ground staff to pick up the pieces.

Correspondence with JAL suggests rather large compensation payouts. On the subject of press interest, apparently one of the passengers did a phone interview with BBC Radio but it was never broadcast, as the Hutton report was dominating the news that night.