Stranded Air France A380 Passengers Begin Final Journey to Los Angeles
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On Saturday, a Los Angeles-bound Air France A380 diverted to Goose Bay following an engine blowout over the Atlantic. But the terrifying in-flight incident was just one part of the story — once the plane was safely on the ground, all 497 passengers ended up stranded at Goose Bay Airport in Canada until rescue flights could arrive.
Now, those travelers are finally on their way to Los Angeles. In fact, 130 of those passengers have already arrived in LA, having departed Newfoundland early this morning and arrived at LAX just a few minutes ago.
Passengers caught photos of the first plane departing early Sunday morning, a 737-300 operated by charter company Nolinor with registration C-GNLQ.
Apparently the ground crew at Goose Bay were able to procure a set of stairs large enough to fit the A380. This passenger video also clearly shows the damaged engine as the bus drives around the right side of the aircraft:
The second aircraft, an Air France 777-300ER, operated scheduled service from Paris to Montreal before making its way to pick up the remaining passengers in Goose Bay. That plane just arrived in Atlanta, where travelers will catch a charter Delta flight, DL9860, a 777-200LR to Los Angeles. Currently, that connecting Delta flight is expected to arrive at LAX around 1:00pm local time. Delta and Air France are both members of the SkyTeam alliance.
TPG reader Kent, a passenger onboard Flight 66 who has been providing updates from the plane, gave us details on the breakdown of who made it onto the direct flight to LAX and which passengers were routed through Atlanta:
First plane was first class and business; plus families with small children. The second plane was a 777 that took everyone else to ATL. We arrived in ATL about 1 hour ago.
Air France issued a statement covering the incident and onward journey:
While we’re sure the passengers are relieved to finally be on their way, the Delta 777 is not expected in Los Angeles until 1:00pm, a full 24 hours after Air France Flight 66 was scheduled to land. It’s no doubt been an incredibly long and uncomfortable trip for the passengers and crew — fortunately, some of them have already made it to their destination, and the remaining passengers will be there soon.
Featured image by Emmanuel Dunand via Getty Images.
This post has been updated with details and video of how passengers disembarked from the Air France A380, and also with info on which set of passengers went on each rescue plane.
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