Vistara aircraft almost ran out of fuel, passenger recalls horror
In a shocking turn of events, a Delhi-bound Vistara flight almost ran out of fuel mid-air. The UK944 aircraft, which took off from Mumbai on Monday, landed in Lucknow with only 10 minutes of fuel in its tank. The journey definitely turned horrifying for the 180 fliers, and one of them recounted it on social media. Their experience will scare you. Read on.
From Delhi, flight went towards Lucknow and other cities
The flight couldn't land in Delhi due to unfavorable conditions. Its next stop was Lucknow, but bad weather conditions stopped it from landing at the Uttar Pradesh capital too. The pilot then sought permission to land in Kanpur but was denied. Thereafter, Allahabad was posed as an option. After hovering over different cities, the aircraft finally received a green signal to land in Lucknow.
Running low on fuel, pilot declared "Fuel Mayday"
If hopping over various cities wasn't enough, the fact that the aircraft was operating on minimum fuel made the journey traumatic. Just before the aircraft was allowed to land in Lucknow, the pilot declared "Fuel Mayday", a technical term used when flights run low on fuel. As per Vistara, changing destinations led to the situation. Notably, Aviation regulator DGCA has grounded the pilot.
Taking a look at what Vistara said about the episode
"The unexpected drop in visibility at the destination alternate was the main reason why the aircraft ended up in a low-fuel situation despite carrying excess fuel over and above the required Flight Plan Fuel as per regulations," Vistara's spokesperson said on the incident.
Flier called experience worse than "Gemini Circus' Giant Wheel"
As it turns out, passengers faced problems way before they were told about the fuel crisis. Senior journalist Sheela Bhatt posted a verbose Facebook post detailing the same. Bhatt called the experience worse than "Gemini Circus' Giant wheel." Separately, Bhatt's co-passenger Gerry Menezes, who is a Samsung employee, explained how every minute spent on the flight felt like eternity.
Flight took off late, hit major turbulence before Delhi
Menezes, whose words Bhatt posted on her Facebook account, revealed that the flight's departure time was 2:40 PM, but it took off at 3:30 PM. He said there was nothing unusual about the flight, people chatted, some slept, and the staff served refreshments. However, things went haywire some 300kms away from Delhi. The flight hit turbulence and it was freaky, Menezes said.
Passengers swung, fell, rose, when flight hit turbulence
"For what seemed like eternity - but in earth hours about 15 minutes, the craft felt like a paper plane in a room with 12 table fans. We swung, we swayed, we fell, we rose, and we went gravity-less," he narrated.
Flight came extremely close to runaway, but didn't land
All this while, the passengers, "even the staunchest of atheists", kept on praying. Their prayers were answered when they looked past turbulence and got close to Delhi's runway. But as they went from 10,000 feet in the sky to 4,000 feet, the plane rose up again. "To the utter disbelief of everyone who could understand what was happening... we were gaining height," said Menezes.
After flight went up in air, passengers got worried
"Two thoughts that were bothering the passengers...1. Why did we not land and 2. Are we going back into the dense clouds and the turbulence they hold! Both questions good enough to create turbulence in a sane, logical mind, (sic)" Menezes added.
Subsequently, passengers were informed about low-fuel situation
Soon, passengers were informed the flight would land in Lucknow. "I don't remember waiting for a city as I waited for Lucknow to arrive... And then bombshell 2.. The plane was running out of fuel," Menezes wrote. While they were still coping up from this shock, the pilot informed they couldn't land in Lucknow due to poor visibility. The flight then moved towards Allahabad.
Like destination, prayers of passengers also changed
"And so now the prayers replaced Lucknow by Allahabad. And then some time-lapse, some turbulence, more prayers, and some more deep soul search and forgiveness, we landed. The plane taxied to the tarmac... the doors opened and then someone saw... This is Lucknow Airport!," said Menezes.
For passengers, the most common route became the longest one
Even after this, passengers' agony didn't end. They were forced to stay in Lucknow, as DGCA guidelines prohibited the staff from working longer. "Our flight would take off at 11.45 PM on the day we took off at 3.30 PM from Mumbai... Easily the longest flight for one of the most routine sectors that most Indians fly," Menezes said, highlighting the irony.