Air France provided 264 passengers and 18 crewmembers with a surprise free 3-day stopover last week—in Arctic weather in the eastern Siberian city of Irkutsk.
The unexpected stop came when a smoke smell was detected in the cockpit of the AF flight from Paris to Shanghai last Sunday. They were bused to hotels at the airport, where the temperature was -15C (5F), which none of them was prepared for. But that didn't matter: None of them had visas for Russia, so they couldn't go anywhere anyway.
On Tuesday, they boarded a replacement plane to complete the flight to Shanghai, only to have the take-off aborted because of hydraulic system problems. Finally, on Wednesday, a third plane was able to get them to their destinations.
Air France has apologized and offered compensation, saying it "regrets this exceptional situation." Meanwhile, it has two large planes on the ground in Siberia. Anyone know a good mechanic in Irkutsk?