The Horror Of Spending 33 Hours Trapped On An Aeroplane

The Horror Of Spending 33 Hours Trapped On An Aeroplane

Gizmodo Australia's Luke Hopewell was on a flight from New York to Hong Kong the other day. It should have been a long but comfortable trip. Instead, it became something out of a survival story. The flight from hell.

Having made 99 per cent of the trip just fine, storms over Hong Kong meant the flight couldn't land at its intended destination, so the pilot figured the next best thing would be to land at a nearby regional airport Zhuhai. It was not.

First, the storms soon hit Zhuhai, meaning the plane couldn't move off the runway. Then the crew hit their limit of hours worked before a mandatory rest period kicked in. Then the Chinese government told them they weren't allowed off the plane, because the regional airport didn't have international customs agents, and it was now night-time, so none could be ferried over from Hong Kong.

The Chinese government refused repeated requests to let them even stretch their legs on the tarmac, and even said no to Cathay Pacific flying in a replacement flight.

By now the plane was out of food, water and auxiliary power, Luke having to subside on a packet of Oreos and a single bottle of water for 16 hours. Also note that the aircraft's garbage bins were by now long overflowing.

Two other things running out were passenger's sanity and fresh air. For an hour the front door was opened to allow the latter in, before the Chinese government ordered it closed again.

Surviving on the aforementioned biscuits, water, iOS games and some Doctor Who, the flight eventually took off in the morning, landing in Hong Kong 33 hours after it had left New York. For their troubles, the passengers were handed a compensatory gift of... $US130. And a dinner party story for the ages.

The next time you're stuck on a flight, and think a sore butt and bad food are the worst of your problems, remember this.

How I Survived The 33-Hour Flight From Hell [Lifehacker Australia]


    Too soon.

      From what

        Well I guess he refers to a recent certain event involving a certain plane that remains missing. It still is on a lot of people's minds. A rant about being inconveniently stuck on a plane may not be the most timely article, particularly with using words and phrases like "horror" and "flight from hell".

        Last edited 03/04/14 10:55 am

    Why is this getting plastered everywhere? Weather slightly inconvenienced you for half a day, get over it.

    The water heater in the apartment above me exploded, and left me without power or hot water for over a week let alone what it did to the people living there.

    It's just completely self entitled nothing puff journalism, plus look at your picture of a plane with the caption "the worst" and think how any of these articles might appear if the friends and families of a certain other popular plane might feel if they saw it.

    I usually hate the term first world problems, yes you can complain about things even if it's not the worst thing happening in the world. But dear god, this just reeks of entitlement and so much winging over pretty much nothing.

      I'm guessing that when the water heater broke, you weren't confined to a cramped seat for most of the time, nor did it probably restrict you from getting food or drink. Heck I imagine you still got to go outside for some fresh air.

      Why don't you lock yourself in the toilet for a day and a half and then come back and mutter about the problems encountered in the flight being a first world problem.

        No offence but I think you missed my point, I wasn't suggesting that was a worse situation or even trying to directly compare them.

        Re-reading my post I don't think I was clear at all, but I meant that life is full of annoying little inconveniences. The apartment flood was simply the first I pulled out of my ass because it happened less than a month ago.

        If I was on that flight, I probably would have complained or talked to my friends about how much it sucked. A personal blog or tweet could even be a good outlet, but see the humour in it and don't have it running on news sites as a plane "horror" when it's nothing more than an inconvenience.

        I did mention I hate the term first world problems, because I do. You can always find someone suffering worst than you are at any point, you should be able to complain so long as you get a sense of perspective.

        Really the situation is just being blown out of proportion, that's all I found annoying about it.

        Oh and I also maintain, the photo in this article is disgustingly insensitive.

          So just to be clear you consider being confined to a fairly small area for 33 hours with limited food, water and sanitation to be a slight inconvenience?

            In the scheme of things, yes.

            Especially as the limited food/water weren't that dire, it ended up being the equivalent of 1 skipped meal. Slightly exacerbated that the original author had an allergy and was dubious of the safety of the other food.

            (How the airline attendants didn't know what food was nut safe however would be a gripe I think is fair.)

            Also sanitation seems to be a bit of a stretch, slightly overflowing bins aren't really something to worry about in the space of a few hours.

            At best you can argue it's a large inconvenience, or are you suggesting it is something more than an inconvenience? If so I'd appreciate hearing your rationale.

            Look I know it's annoying, if I was in the situation I would be pretty angry and cranky at my poor luck but I still think it's a big blow up in an inappropriate forum. Life kinda sucks sometimes, but just roll with the punches.

            Also this was linked in the orignial thread and it is really so very appropriate:

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