This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Monday was not a good day for Canadian airline Air Transat. Two of its flights inbound to Montreal from Europe had to be diverted to Ottawa (YOW) because of bad weather. While weather diversions are fairly common, the events that followed after the flights landed were unfortunate, to say the least.

Both flight 157 from Brussels (BRU) and flight 507 from Rome (FCO) were diverted to YOW, and when they landed, both sat on the ramp for several hours, where, according to passengers, there was minimal service, passengers were overheating and hardly any communication was given from the airline.

Flight 157 landed in Ottawa around 5:00PM local time, with 336 passengers on board, and didn’t leave for Montreal (YUL) until 11:00PM. After the flight, passenger Laura Mah told the CBC, “The plane actually lost power and went zero AC, and then now we’ve got the doors open and one kid is puking, and people are just losing their minds. They’re just getting mad, saying ‘This is not all right, this is not OK, you can’t do this to us.’ The police are in here and the fire department’s in here and they’re telling us that they can’t do anything, that we just have to stay put.”

Laura even reached out to the airport, which gave the following response.

The airport’s initial response, while accurate, raises some questions. You’d think someone at YOW would have tried to get the ball rolling to assist these passengers before they had to resort to calling 911. Apparently, after the call was made, authorities came to the plane in an attempt to figure out who specifically made the call.

This morning, the airport released a statement explaining its role during this event, saying, “We had a gate available and air stairs ready in the event that the airline decided to deplane. We also had buses on the tarmac ready to shuttle passengers to the terminal — buses the Authority purchased specifically for situations such as this. Neither the ground handling service nor the airline requested either of these during the event.”

Another Twitter user posted videos during the unplanned stay in Ottawa, but it’s unclear which diverted flight he was on. In the video, a flight attendant can be heard asking passengers to remain in their assigned seats so that the crew could open the plane’s doors for air circulation.

Here’s another video showing the situation on board:

Passenger Laura Mah also claimed that it wasn’t until after the 911 call that paramedics began bringing bottles of water to the plane — but no food. Any remaining food on board after the long flight from Brussels was given to children — at least the cabin crew got that right.

According to EU Passenger Rights rules, because the flights originated in EU countries, passengers had the right to be disembarked after the delay reached the 5-hour mark. Passengers could also be entitled to significant compensation for the long tarmac wait, in addition to the flight’s delayed arrival.

Ottawa International Airport has the facilities to handle international arrivals — there are many flights from the US each day, as well as service to/from London on Air Canada. It’s difficult to speculate as to why the planes weren’t allowed to park at a gate for passengers to disembark the aircraft and enter the airport. At least if the plane had been parked at a gate, it could have utilized electric power and the air conditioning.

Ottawa received over 30 diverted flights that were originally bound for Montreal. It’s likely that Ottawa International Airport was overwhelmed with the amount of diverted flights it was receiving, and thus experienced lengthy delays. Regardless, we feel for the passengers that endured such long and uncomfortable delays, and hope the airline and airport have learned from this situation so something like this doesn’t happen again in the future.

Featured image via BriYYZ (Flickr / Commercial Use Allowed)

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The American Express Platinum card has some of the best perks out there: cardholders enjoy the best domestic lounge access (Delta SkyClubs, Centurion Lounges, and Priority Pass), a $200 annual airline fee credit as well as up to $200 in Uber credits, and mid-tier elite status at SPG, Marriott, and Hilton. Combined with the 60,000 point welcome offer -- worth $1,140 based on TPG's valuations -- this card is a no-brainer for frequent travelers. Here are 5 reasons you should consider this card, as well as how you can figure out if the $550 annual fee makes sense for you.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on
  • Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
See Terms
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.