A Eurowings flight, operated by Brussels Airlines with an Airbus A340 (OO-SCW), from New York JFK to Dusseldorf has caused a lot of discontent among the passengers: flight EW1101 – originally scheduled on Friday 2 November at 18:55 (UTC -4) – was delayed because the crew exceeded the maximum duty time allowed. 16 hours later the flight finally left for Germany but due to curfew restrictions at Dusseldorf Airport (no arrivals after 00:00), the aircraft diverted to Cologne Airport, 45 km South of Dusseldorf.
John Greenlee, one of the stranded passengers, complained on Eurowings’ Facebook page: “Flight EW1101 JFK to DUS. We are stranded at JFK since Friday nov 2nd 17:00 with little to no information for the passengers. Delay after delay then they pushed the flight out to 10:15 this morning. This has now been again delayed to 11:30 and nobody from EW is here to help!!!! Was a total chaos last night with crying children and absolutely no organization. This morning the chaos continue s but without any staff from EW!!!”
A Eurowings spokesman confirmed the delay: “due to the late arrival of an aircraft (*), the crew intended for your flight had exceeded the maximum duty time allowed. This rule is regulated by law and is done so for your own safety. Unfortunately, it was not possible to activate and deploy a standby crew on the same day, so the departure had to be postponed.”
(*) Flight EW1100 from Dusseldorf to New York JFK diverted to Newark Airport, five hours later the Airbus A340 was then flown to JFK.
John Greenlee responded to the spokesman: “We all know the flight was delayed and understand the maximum duty time. The issue is how the situation has and is being handled. No structure, little information and chaos. No lines setup for recheck-in . Everyone is crowded at the counter trying to be next.”
The Eurowings spokesman confirmed that passengers were offered vouchers and hotel accommodation but some passengers preferred to stay at the airport.
But finally John was also satisfied that he could finally leave for his destination: “After 15 hrs delay we are onboard and ready to go. A special thanks to the ground staff for doing all they could to get us out of here. Team lead (sorry didn’t get his name) did an awesome job in a challenging situation. They and the customers need support!!!”
Off to Dusseldorf then, not before dropping by at Cologne Airport first.