Airline Asks Passengers for Cash to Pay Repair Bill so Plane Can Depart
Passengers on LOT Polish airlines flight LO92 got an unusual request on a recent flight according to Polish Newsweek: Help pay for a broken-down Boeing 787 Dreamliner's repairs, or the flight would not be taking off.
Flight LO92 was scheduled to depart Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) on Nov. 12. However, after the flight crew completed its inbound after-flight check, it was determined that the Boeing 787 Dreamliner —Registration SP-LRH— was in need of a new hydraulic pump.
It seems that after the LOT station manager contacted the local Boeing contractor to complete the repairs, the repair manager demanded cash for the repair bill. All of this after the passengers were delayed almost 10 hours as the problem was traced, parts acquired and the repair completed.
The LOT station manager decided to make an unusual request of the passengers to help get the plane airborne again; cash from passengers to cover the cost of the repair. In all, four passengers helped foot the repair bill, which totaled about $576.
Once the aircraft arrived back in Warsaw, passengers were met by Maciej Wilk, the current COO of LOT, according to the same Newsweek source. The four passengers received apologies and their money was reimbursed to them. Wilk told the passengers that even though the steps taken by the station manager in Beijing, were "unusual," he was happy the aircraft was able to return to Warsaw. Standard operations would have repairs like this paid by wire transfer or credit card. Representatives from LOT said the matter is being investigated, but reiterated that the actions taken by the station manager in Beijing were inappropriate.
Although such situations are very rare, this isn't the first time passengers have been asked to chip in to help a stranded plane. In 2012, passengers on Air France's flight 562 were asked to help pay for fuel after an unexpected landing in war-torn Syria. The plane, which was flying from Paris (CDG) to Beirut (BEY) was forced to divert after protests and riots broke out around the Beirut airport. After the flight crew requested a diversion to Amman, Jordan, it was determined they lacked the fuel required to make it there, ending up in Damascus. Although an Air France representative did ask passengers how much cash they had to help pay for fuel, it was never collected from passengers.