Do not fly with Air Canada unless you have no choice, Air Canada is not safe!
Santiago Travel Blog› entry 8 of 9 › view all entries
Today I was on an Air Canada flight Number 092 from Chile to Argentina and after a 20 min delay we finally took off from Santiago's International Airport (Chile) with destination Ezeiza Airport (Argentina). I was at seat 2A which was very close to the front service area.
Approximate 30 min after we took off, the crew started with the normal catering procedure and one of the food ovens located at the front of the plane (close to the pilot's cabin) got fire. I saw that the Air Canada's crew started to act very nervous and uncoordinated in order to mitigate the situation (extinguish the fire) specially two flight attendants that started to open and close all the business class overhead bins looking for a fire extinguisher as well as the closets and compartments located at the front of the plane and they did not find any! Can you imagine this situation? There was not any single fire extinguisher located in the front of the plane!
Finally after 2-3 min, when we started to smell, there was a flight attendant (a guy) who came running from the very back of the plane with one small size fire extinguisher in his hand and he used it. After a couple of discharges the "minor situation" as was catalogued later by the crew was already under control.
What also impacted me was the fact that a couple of minutes later when the situation everything was over another flight attendant came from the very back with a safety gloves (Heat/fire proof I think).
After all of this, one of the flight attendants informed to the passengers that the situation was under control in several languages: English, French and Spanish which was very good because the passengers were demanding information. The captain never spoke to us.
Looks like the fire was initiated by a small piece of plastic that someone left inside the oven and when the crew started it, the small plastic piece got burn and this was the reason of the fire and the fumes.
I have over a million of miles flown and I use to take very long flights to Asia and South America and I never saw a situation like this one where the following mistakes were made:
The crew had not any clue about where the fire extinguishers were located in the plane
Any of the overhead bins located in the Business class area had an external or at least a visible identification about the fire extinguisher. Only a small compartment underneath the main screen in Business has a sticker indicating what I think was an oxygen bottle if it was there.
How a Boeing 767-300 had not a fire extinguisher in the front? Why this plane had only one (1) small fire extinguisher similar to those ones that you can find at Home Depot for $9.99? Why it was located at the very back of the plane?
Why the crew was so clue less about the safety equipment location?
Why the pilot didn't take the microphone to reinforce the flight attendant message about everything was under control.
Honestly I may understand the reasons that originated the issue however I saw the following security violations here:
- Only one (1) fire extinguisher for a plane that carries 200+ passengers. Come on Air Canada you make enough money to buy a couple more in Home Depot and put these at the following locations: One at the pilot's cabin and the other one at the service area located at the front of the plane.
- The crew was not properly trained to handle "minor situations" as they called it.
- The company hired to perform the plane maintenance and set up should train their personnel to check the ovens when they clean and set up the planes.
- Safety equipment may not be very well identified in order to help the crew to find it.
The cherry of the ice cream was what I saw when we finally landed, the guy who at the end found the fire extinguisher just decided to put it in the coats closet, I'm wondering if someone reported the incident to local authorities and the fire extinguisher is going to be recharged for the portion Ezeiza ��" Toronto. Thanks god that my final destination was Buenos Aires and I was able to get out of that plane.
From my side I will report this incident to the security team in my company in order to see if they can avoid to book flights with Air Canada until they get a confirmation that Air Canada meets the FAA basic safety regulations. I will do my best to avoid flying with Air Canada in the future.
What I would like to see Air Canada doing in the future is the following:
- Identify better the location of the safety equipment in order to have the passengers able to recognize where it is stored and help the crew as needed.
- Assess again the crew knowledge, they acted uncoordinated
- Assign at least 2-3 fire extinguishers to each plane (one at the back, one at the middle and one at the front) as well one for the pilot's cabin.
- Buy bigger fire extinguishers because this time it was a small incident easy to control with the small one available in the plane however I was thinking these should be bigger in order to make sure the crew can control whatever situation.
- Re-assess your vendors; the company responsible for the set up in Chile must be more careful about their work.
Nestor J. Portillo