A British backpacking couple, who had been on board the aborted AirAsia X flight D7207, has criticised AirAsia as “useless” and “frankly, embarrassing”.
Jake Marshall and Kelly Sewell, both 25, were on AirAsia X flight D7207 from Gold Coast to Kuala Lumpur which was aborted about an hour into its journey and diverted to land in Brisbane due to a suspected bird strike on Jul 4. The couple was en route to Vietnam.
They described the flight as “downright terror” as flames flew from the plane’s engine and complained of inadequate communications, delays, additional expenses and lost luggage.
Marshall told the Australian news portal The New Daily on Friday that they thought they were moments from death before the flight made the emergency landing.
“I was sitting within sight of the engine flames, and accepted the fact that we were about to die,” he was quoted as saying.
“Other people on the plane had gone hysterical. There is a legitimate concern people may have severe PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), and people’s holidays have been ruined.”
Marshall claimed that there was inadequate communication from AirAsia and the passengers spent hours queuing for the replacement flight.
“We got a text in our Ibis Hotel in Brisbane with the new flight details, and that a coach would pick us up. We had to ask the Ibis reception what time the coach was getting there.
“Before taking off from Brisbane, the captain said a few words about how this was a different plane, but apart from that, they seemed to pretend that nothing had happened,” he reportedly said.
“All the passengers looked very nervous and everyone was completely silent as we were taking off,” he was quoted as saying.
The couple alleged that they found their bags missing when they eventually landed in Hanoi.
On Thursday, they were told that their bags had been found but after a taxi ride to the airport, only Marshall’s bag was there.
“They cannot even tell us what country Kelly’s (bag) was in,” he was quoted as saying.
“We have been going around in circles for over 30 hours and feel like AirAsia is treating us as an embarrassing inconvenience that if they ignore will simply go away.”
The news report said Sewell was informed on Friday afternoon that her bag had been found in Kuala Lumpur and would arrive in Hanoi on Saturday.
Marshall said that the taxi to the airport and back cost about RM140, and they would need to make another trip to pick up Sewell’s luggage.
According to The New Daily, screenshots of communications Marshall had with AirAsia staff showed that he had made repeated requests for assistance.
“We have just been told to ‘fill out an e-form’ and they will process it to see if we’re owed money,” Marshall said.
He added that he would have appreciated an email apologising for the inconvenience.
The duo from Cornwall, England, has been working and travelling in New Zealand since March. They plan to leave Hanoi for Sydney in early August before returning to the UK for Christmas.