Sunday, June 15, 2008

Aussie Ex-Flight Attendant Offloads Herself From Three Successive MAS Flights After Fume Concerns

An Australian former flight attendant offloaded herself from three successive Malaysia Airlines flights on which she was due to depart from London Heathrow airport this month, on the grounds that she could smell oil fumes. .

MAS's Heathrow station manager Kevin Jones told Flight International that Lesley Williams was going to be boarded early for the 22:00 departure on 12 June so she could make up her mind about whether to travel at this third attempt, but that if she decided against flying she would not be offered another flight on the same ticket. He says the airline would consider recompensing her for the cost of the flight, which would have been Williams's return journey to Australia.

Williams was one of many flight and cabin crew who gave evidence to the Australian Senate inquiry in 2000 into cabin air contamination and its effect on aircraft safety and health.

Immediately on boarding the aircraft Williams could smell oil, and she says that in all three Boeing 747s she boarded it had been the same. She was informed by MAS that the air conditioning was being provided by the aircraft air conditioning packs supplying external air using ground power, not the auxiliary power unit. She says she believes the air conditioning system must have been contaminated by earlier events involving engine or bleed air. She decided not to fly.

MAS flights from Australia to the UK had been free of oil smells, Williams says, but she adds that her determination not to fly on an aircraft she recognised as contaminated stems from identifying the same smell on boarding a Qantas 747 flight from Heathrow to Australia in August 2004. She decided to fly anyway, and suffered six months' chronic fatigue syndrome before, as she explains it, her system purged itself of the toxins to which she had been subjected. She says she reported the state of affairs to Qantas at the time and the airline promised to get back to her, but it never did. (Flight International)

***** Is the real problem in our aircraft or in this lady's mind?



Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of those bonker characters me think. Airport tarmacs are like a refueling station where planes are refueled so the smell of fuel in the air is to be expected to permeate in the air. But the smell should be dissipate quickly once the door is closed and shortly after take-off. Sometimes it's psychological. It's in the head, not the nose.

9:25 AM GMT+8  
Blogger kittykat46 said...

Nothing really that unusual.
As a frequent traveller, I've noticed at some point during the departure process, some air with an oily smell may make its way into the cabin. Normally it dissipates quite fast, no real health or comfort issue.

I think it happens at the point the aircraft switches from ground external power unit to the auxiliary power driven by the plane's own engine.

Maybe she's been spending too much time in planes, psycho-somatic issue...

1:45 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some people are more sensitive to certain chemicals than others, and it has been proven that airline air contains many pollutants, especially those from fuels. Many people may not react to this pollution, but that doesn't mean that SOME DO. I'm for giving her the benefit of the doubt. Obviously flight attendants would be more exposed to anything in the airplane air than most of us. Statistically pilots and flight attendants have a higher incidence of chronic fatigue syndrome. Perhaps we finally have the reason.

11:02 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The smell was probably due to the doors being opened on ground before the passengers boarded. As everybody knows that apart from the boarding doors, other doors on the tarmac would be opened for catering, maintenance services, etc. And when they do close the doors, you can't expect the smell not to be there as they were refueling then as well. But it does go off after a while. Anyway, I've flown with MAS more often that i did with any other airlines the last 10 years and so far... I'm still alive & kicking. Maybe she contracted her "Chronic Fatigue Syndrome" when she flew as a crew with her previous employers. Who knows? Or perhaps she has another kind of "Syndrome".

;) lol

2:08 AM GMT+8  

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