Couple on diverted AirAsia flight claim nightmare continued later

Jake-Marshall-and-Kelly-Sewell-air-asiaPETALING JAYA: A British backpacking couple on board AirAsia X flight D7207 which suffered mid-air engine problems on July 3 reportedly had their nightmare prolonged after the incident as their luggage got lost and they were forced to incur additional expenses.

Jake Marshall and Kelly Sewell, both 25, were reported by Australian news portal The New Daily on Friday as saying that they found their bags missing when they eventually landed in Hanoi.

It said they were told on Thursday that the bags had been found, but after a taxi ride to the airport, only Marshall’s bag was there.

“They cannot even tell us what country Kelly’s (bag) was in,” he was quoted as saying.

“We have been going around in circles for over 30 hours and feel like AirAsia is treating us as an embarrassing inconvenience that if they ignore will simply go away.”

The report said Sewell was told on Friday afternoon that her bag had been found in Kuala Lumpur and would arrive in Hanoi on Saturday.

Marshall was quoted as saying that the taxi to the airport and back cost about RM140, and they would need to make another trip to pick up Sewell’s luggage.

According to The New Daily, screenshots of conversations Marshall had with AirAsia staff showed that he had made repeated requests for assistance.

“We have just been told to ‘fill out an e-form’ and they will process it to see if we’re owed money,” he was quoted as saying.

Flight D7207 had departed Gold Coast in Australia for Kuala Lumpur at about 10.20pm last Monday, but was forced to divert to Brisbane after suffering some engine problems shortly after take-off.

The plane landed safely in Brisbane at 11.33pm.

AirAsia X said in a statement that the flight was diverted after experiencing a suspected bird strike to its starboard engine. It said the remains of two birds were found on the runway.

The flight had 345 passengers and 14 crew members on board, and the low-cost carrier would make the necessary arrangements, the statement added.

Marshall was also cited as saying that they thought they were moments from death before the flight made the emergency landing.

“I was sitting within sight of the engine flames, and accepted the fact that we were about to die,” he was quoted as saying.

“Other people on the plane had gone hysterical. There is a legitimate concern people may have severe PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), and people’s holidays have been ruined.”

According to the report, the passengers were accommodated in a hotel overnight before being taken on AirAsia flight D7689 to Kuala Lumpur the next evening.

Marshall claimed that there was inadequate communication from the airline company and the passengers spent hours queuing for the replacement flight. They also had no idea of what had gone wrong, he was quoted as saying.

“We got a text in our Ibis Hotel in Brisbane with the new flight details, and that a coach would pick us up. We had to ask the Ibis reception what time the coach was getting there.

“Before taking off from Brisbane, the captain said a few words about how this was a different plane, but apart from that, they seemed to pretend that nothing had happened,” he reportedly said.

“All the passengers looked very nervous and everyone was completely silent as we were taking off.”

The New Daily said it had contacted AirAsia for comment.

‘Suspected bird strike’ forces AirAsia X flight to land in Brisbane