Passengers on Brussels Airlines flight 101 to New York on Friday faced a difficult weekend following a diversion. The Airbus A330 was diverted to Dublin, Ireland, after pilots reported an engine warning. However, with flights to the US packed before Thanksgiving, finding new flights was not easy for passengers.
According to the Aviation Herald, the incident occurred on a Brussels Airlines service from Brussels to New York, SN501, on Friday. The flight departed at 10:44 AM and began the journey over the Atlantic, crossing the English Channel and entering the Atlantic.
However, while off the coast of Ireland, pilots declared ‘PAN-PAN,’ an emergency message indicating problems onboard. One of the engines reportedly lost power and the crew was forced to shut it down. The aircraft then reduced altitude from 37,000 feet to 23,000 feet.
In response, pilots requested to divert to Shannon but were asked to fly to Dublin instead. After a sharp turn toward Ireland, the A330 spent 10-15 minutes burning fuel before landing in Dublin at 13:21 local time.
The flight was carrying 164 passengers and 10 crew members. The aircraft landed safely, but the passengers onboard were in for a tough two days afterward.
Stuck on the ground
Flight diversions are rare, but when they do occur, passengers can find themselves in tough positions. According to Reuters, passengers on SN501 spent the night of Friday in hotels in Dublin before flying out to Paris on Saturday morning. Notably, Paris is not a hub for Brussels Airlines or any other Lufthansa Group carrier.
To make matters worse, some passengers missed their connections in Paris because the Dublin-Paris rescue flight was delayed too. Others were unable to find flights on Saturday due to the current volume of travel. With Thanksgiving next week and the US border reopening earlier this month, millions of passengers from around the globe are flying in. This meant finding last-minute seats was not easy.
The weekend turned out to be far more complicated than travelers expected. In a statement, Brussels Airlines acknowledged the situation and said,
“We have done our utmost to give care to our passengers in difficult circumstances … but unfortunately we could not provide an optimal solution to all. We very much regret the inconvenience this caused for our customers.”
Meanwhile, the A330 conducting the original flight, OO-SFG, is still on the ground in Dublin as of Monday morning. This has had a knock-on effect across Brussels Airlines’ network, with this morning’s New York service also canceled. Until the engine is checked and repaired, the jet will be grounded.
The aircraft involved was a 13-year-old A330-300, according to Planespotters.net. The plane began its journey at Singapore Airlines in February 2009 before moving to its current owner in 2018. For now, the A333 will be spending some time on the ground pending an engine repair/replacement and an investigation.