Thought I would shared my experience of this flight that involved an emergency landing back in November 2017. I’ll try not be “me me I I” and focus on the flight itself, but it’s a personal experience as well as the procedure.
It my my 2nd trip to Bali (from my home, London) in 2017 after falling in love with Indonesia the first time. Travelling with my best mate, we were trying out the Qatar Airways route which involved an almost 7 hour flight on an A380 from London to Doha and a connection onto the 777-300ER with a just under 9 hour flight to take us to Denpasar, the capital city of Bali.
It’s worth saying that we had no idea of the full story behind all of this until spotting it on social media by chance a couple of days later. We were well into the cruise and I was actually asleep when an announcement over the tannoy woke me up. It went something like this…
“Hello this is you captain speaking, unfortunately we will be diverting to Chennai due to a passenger in need of assistance…”
He then went on to explain that we would be descending at a faster rate than normal and that we would need to dump fuel before landing due to the aircraft being too heavy. He explained that there may be some unfamiliar noses as this procedure takes place and that we were not to be alarmed. Moments later there was indeed a noise coming from somewhere which, I can only describe as a vacant squeaking pump noise, almost like the sound of flaps being retracted but a bit more muffled and more vibration sounding, but the noise was only brief. Anyway, we were indeed going down a faster rate and some of the passengers were starting to look a bit concerned, as we ourselves were. It’s human nature after all I guess. We all knew this was an emergency procedure but were comforted slightly (although that sounds bad) in the fact that somebody needed assistance rather than some mechanical defect or problem with the aircraft. Stick with me on that bit.
Moments later there was the noise of screaming coming from behind us (we were sat at the front) and it had become apparent that there was a lady involved in some sort of commotion between her and the stewardess that had broken out - it wasn’t until landing at in Chennai for the diversion that we found out the lady had actually attacked the stewardess and punched her. When we landed in Chennai she was dragged off the plane screaming with her husband in tow. It did feel odd though, and we were down in no time at all. We were told the crew weren’t sure about how long we would be down in Chennai before departing for Bali again but it ended up between 2.5 and 3 hours I think. Refuelling required and lots and lots of paperwork and people standing around inside and outside the plane with clipboards and pens. We thought it would be a quick turnaround but no. I think the initial worry is just natural - you’re cruising at 35,000 and anything out of the ordinary is going to ruffle some of your feathers, regardless of what the issue is. In this case, after what we had witnessed, it was a cabin wide feeling that any “feeling bad” for feeling better about the lack of mechanical issues (as mentioned earlier) had completely vanished.
Actually it turned out that the “assistance required” that we were told about was to get her off the plane in her drunken aggressive state… but there was more to it which we didn’t know. This is what had happened. She had actually waited for her husband to fall asleep and, suspecting him of cheating on her, used his fingerprints to unlock his own phone and retrieve messages and proof that she was correct without him knowing. She then went mad and caused the scene on the flight.
Aside from the inconvenience of being delayed, I imagine this would have cost Qatar Airways a fortune in fuel bills and other variables.
The link below is one of many outlets and sources that covered the story, more can be found by typing “Qatar Airways emergency landing Chennai” or something similar into the online search. It appear by chance in my Facebook newsfeed.