The director of Thai Airways International apologized to two passengers who had to give up their first-class seats for two off-duty pilots who had to travel from Zurich to Bangkok. Deadheading means that pilots must be flown to another destination, as passengers on a commercial flight, in order to pilot a flight already scheduled. An indispensable tactic that airlines use to avoid being forced to cancel flights.
Airline apologizes to passengers that gave up their seats due to a problem with pilots
The departure of the aircraft was delayed by two hours because the service pilots refused to take off until first-class seats were available for their colleagues. Director Sumeth Damrongchaitham posted an apology message on Thai Airways International's Facebook page.
The director referred to the incident as a serious matter that affected the airline's image. The company has initiated an investigation and will ensure that such an incident does not occur again. "I apologize to all passengers affected by the unprofessional action that caused the delay and apologize to the passengers directly affected by the seat change. I take responsibility for the incident," read his statement.
The incident occurred on flight TG 971 from Zurich to Bangkok on 11 October. The scheduled time of departure was 13:30, but the pilots refused to take off unless some first-class passengers agreed to give up their seats to two Thai pilots. All first-class passengers refused to do so. After a delay of about two hours, a couple finally abandoned their seats so the flight could depart.
Complaint and the dissatisfaction of all affected passengers
Eventually, the affected passengers filed a complaint and argued that the two off-duty pilots should have taken two empty seats in business class, instead of blackmailing the rest of the passengers by using the flight as a "hostage" to get what they wanted.
The flight finally arrived more than an hour late at Suvarnabhumi airport.
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