Bit of a wacky story to close off the weekend here at Simple Flying, where it appears an airline’s crew has been panhandling to their passengers in order to get their flight off the ground.
Occasionally we have heard of unusual situations that prevent a flight taking off, such as when Ryanair had to pay a half a million dollar fine to France, or when an airline went bankrupt as the pilots were taxiing.
But this tale from LOT might take the cake!
What is the story?
LOT Polish Airways Boeing Dreamliner experienced a little damage when flying to Bejing, China, over the weekend. This type of damage to the hydraulic system is rather benign but would require some urgent repairs before the plane could return to Warsaw, Poland (November 12th).
LOT attempted to engage the Boeing repair crew at the airport to fix the issue as passengers were checked into the flight be began to wait at the airport. In fact, the issue was more severe than initially thought and it took over 10 hours to get the Boeing repair crew on site to make the repairs.
However, the Boeing repair crew demanded to be paid in cash, upfront, before repairing the broken pump.
The total cost? 2,500 Chinese yuan (approximately $360 USD).
The LOT representative for the flight did not have enough cash on them to cover the expense, and then decided to reach out to the passengers to make up the difference (And apparently without the blessing of their head office). They solicited the crowd (Who had been waiting for 10 hours) and asked for cash to speed up their departure.
As it turned out, LOT station manager did not have required amount in cash. In order to speed up the departure of significantly delayed flight to Warsaw, he decided to ask for support from a few passengers whom he claims, he knew. – LOT Statement
With the generous donation from four of the passengers, the LOT representative was able to pay the Boeing team and finish the repairs. The plane then took off for its original destination.
Upon landing in Poland, LOT head office had managed to get in touch with the cabin crew. The four passengers who donated were refunded their money and were also given free flights to use in the future.A LOT 787 Dreamliner
What happened with Boeing and LOT?
Now, this is very unusual, because Boeing and LOT would almost certainly have a maintenance contract for their planes. Any additional or extra repairs would be invoiced to the airline, they would not have to pay the repair team in cash.
Additionally, LOT has confirmed that their representative (who acted without their permission and should never have asked for help from passengers) should have had the required cash and credit cards on their person, for these exact situations.
A full investigation has been launched by LOT to understand why Boeing demanded cash and held their flight hostage.
“To the best of our knowledge, Boeing employee who was responsible for providing the part necessary to repair the Dreamliner’s defect expected payment in cash despite of the fact that two companies are obliged to non-cash transactions only. The situation is under investigation.” – LOT Statement
Boeing has yet to release a statement regarding the incident.