Passengers Suffer “Enforced Sauna” on Airways Flight: Stranded for Hours in Sweltering Heat

Stranded passengers attempt to cool down using safety packets and pacing the aisles amid 38-degree heat.

Stranded passengers attempt to cool down using safety packets and pacing the aisles amid 38-degree heat.

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Passengers aboard a Qatar Airways flight endured a harrowing ordeal on Monday, trapped on the tarmac in Athens, Greece, for over three hours without air conditioning as temperatures soared to 38 degrees Celsius. Among the overheated travellers were nearly 50 fighters who had attended the IFMA World Muaythai Championships.

The Qatar Airways jet, packed with passengers and devoid of air conditioning, became a stifling trap. For 3.5 hours, passengers were left stranded on the plane with the doors closed, turning the aircraft into a furnace.

“Passengers were dehydrating and passing out on the plane,” recounted Garth Collins, a South African sports therapist. Collins shared footage of the distressing incident with Jam Press. In one video, a passenger is seen stripping off his shirt, sweat glistening on his chest, while others desperately fan themselves with safety packets and pace the aisles in a bid to stay cool.

The passengers were eventually allowed to disembark and return to the air-conditioned comfort of Athens International Airport, but the ordeal was far from over.

“They were finally allowed off the plane and are now sitting in a queue with no communication from the company as to what the situation is,” Collins said. The lack of information compounded the passengers’ frustration, especially for those with connecting flights in Doha. Adding to the chaos, only one Qatar Airways representative was available to assist the throngs of distressed passengers.

Collins criticized the airline’s response, noting that after the “enforced sauna” on the plane, the meagre provision of “a cup of water and a small soft drink” was grossly inadequate for rehydration.

The flight finally arrived in Doha around 10:30 am local time on Tuesday, nearly 16 hours behind schedule.

This incident follows a similar ordeal just two weeks earlier when passengers on an Air India flight to San Francisco, US, endured a 24-hour delay, including eight hours without air conditioning on the tarmac at Delhi Airport. Amidst Delhi’s sweltering heatwave, several of the 200 passengers fainted, highlighting the ongoing issues with air travel during extreme temperatures.