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Qatar Airways QR204: Heatwave Nightmare in Athens Leaves Passengers Stranded and Suffering

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In a scene straight out of a disaster movie, passengers aboard Qatar Airways flight QR204 found themselves trapped in a blistering heatwave when the plane’s air conditioning system failed while sitting on the tarmac at Athens International Airport on Monday. The unfortunate ordeal left scores of travelers sweating profusely and gasping for air, transforming the aircraft into a suffocating oven.

Amongst the distressed passengers were 49 members of the Thai Muay Thai team and a handful of Thai reporters, who were returning home from the IFMA Senior World Championships held in Patras, Greece. Their journey back to Bangkok via Doha was anything but smooth, thanks to this nightmarish delay.

According to a Matichon reporter on the flight, the air conditioning breakdown turned the aircraft into a veritable hotbox, yet the captain insisted everyone remain onboard, with doors sealed tight. For three agonizing hours, passengers endured sweltering conditions without any updates, while the temperature inside soared to unbearable levels.

The situation became so dire that some travelers began to experience nosebleeds, others required oxygen, and children were left crying in distress. At one point, Matichon captured a video showing several male passengers removing their shirts to cope with the heat, while others fashioned makeshift fans from sheets of paper in a desperate bid for some relief.

Despite the unbearable conditions, it wasn’t until passengers raised their voices in protest and engaged in heated arguments with the cabin crew that they were finally permitted to disembark and wait on the tarmac. Louise Morfis, another passenger, recorded a video from the tarmac showing ominous smoke billowing from the rear of the plane.

“I was in shock. But now I feel that I was lucky to get through the situation,” recalled boxer Thannachai Sidsongpeenong. The ordeal he and others faced was nothing short of traumatic.

The incident was further corroborated by a man posting on X (formerly Twitter) under the handle @chriszeiher, who vented his frustrations online: “What is going on with the @qatarairways QR204 flight out of Athens? Board the flight after smoke is seen billowing from plane, leave everyone on the plane for 3 hrs, no air con in stifling heat only to (surprise) remove everyone as the plane is malfunctioning? @SkyNewsAus.”

Disgruntled passengers also flooded the airline’s Facebook account with complaints, one of which highlighted the terrifying conditions: “There is no AC in the plane and you are not letting your passengers off the plane which is almost 40 degrees on the plane. My daughter is on this flight and she can’t even breathe properly. Some of your passengers are fainting.”

Remarkably, Qatar Airways has yet to offer any official response or explanation for the debacle. Scheduled to depart Athens at 1:55 PM and arrive in Doha at 6:20 PM, flight QR204 saw its departure delayed by nearly a day. It eventually left Athens at 6:27 AM on Tuesday and touched down in Doha at 10:34 AM, as per the airline’s website records.

Adding to the drama, the flight operated using a Boeing 777-300ER, an aircraft model known for its reliability, making this malfunction all the more perplexing. The incident has certainly raised questions about the airline’s crisis management and protocols for passenger safety and comfort.

It’s safe to say that this horrifying experience will linger in the minds of the passengers for a long time, and potentially in the annals of air travel nightmares. Here’s hoping that Qatar Airways takes swift and effective measures to ensure such an incident never repeats itself.


  1. James R. June 11, 2024

    This incident is shocking. How could an airline leave passengers in such inhumane conditions?

    • Angela June 11, 2024

      It’s unacceptable! They should have let everyone off the plane immediately.

      • James R. June 11, 2024

        Exactly! The safety and comfort of passengers should be the priority, not keeping to a schedule.

      • FlyingFanatic23 June 11, 2024

        And they haven’t even issued an official response yet. Ridiculous.

  2. Lucy Davis June 11, 2024

    Three hours stuck on a hot plane sounds like a nightmare. Hope everyone is okay now.

    • Ethan June 11, 2024

      It’s appalling that they let it get to that point. Nosebleeds and oxygen?!

    • Lucy Davis June 11, 2024

      Yes, especially with children involved. This could have ended very badly.

  3. Mandy R June 11, 2024

    I was on a similar flight once, and it was terrifying. But this is worse!

    • Paul June 11, 2024

      I can’t even imagine going through this. Airlines need better crisis management plans.

  4. Alex June 11, 2024

    The captain’s decision to keep everyone on board for that long is highly questionable.

  5. Travellover June 11, 2024

    Qatar Airways is usually great. This must be an isolated incident.

  6. Sophie Lee June 11, 2024

    This should be investigated thoroughly. How do we know the plane was safe to fly?

  7. David C June 11, 2024

    I wonder if this is a problem with the Boeing 777-300ER? They’re supposed to be reliable.

    • AviationExpert June 11, 2024

      It’s unlikely. This model has an excellent track record. Sounds more like human error.

  8. Mia June 11, 2024

    Imagine being on that flight with kids! I’d be furious. Thank goodness everyone is safe now.

  9. ChrisZ June 11, 2024

    I was on that flight and it was hell. Never flying with them again.

    • TravelBug June 11, 2024

      Sorry to hear that, Chris. Did they offer any kind of compensation at all?

      • ChrisZ June 11, 2024

        Nope, nothing so far. Just more waiting…

  10. Camilla Bennett June 11, 2024

    Airlines need to be held accountable. This is beyond negligence.

  11. Jonathan June 11, 2024

    Sounds like a lawsuit waiting to happen. Someone should take legal action.

  12. Evelyn June 11, 2024

    Remember that lady died in a similar situation on a different airline a few years ago? This is serious.

    • Jake M June 11, 2024

      Yes, I remember. Airlines always say they’ll do better, but do they really?

  13. Olivia June 11, 2024

    Smoke billowing from the rear of the plane?! That’s terrifying!

  14. Alicia June 11, 2024

    If they had smoke and heat issues, what’s to say the engine or something else wasn’t compromised?

  15. Ron L June 11, 2024

    I feel for the passengers, but handling emergencies like this can be very complex. Let’s not jump to conclusions.

    • Silvia June 11, 2024

      Complex or not, passengers should never be left to suffer like that.

      • Ron L June 11, 2024

        True, but sometimes decisions in emergencies aren’t straightforward.

  16. Traveler123 June 11, 2024

    I’ve flown with Qatar Airways many times without any issues. This must be an anomaly.

  17. Tom June 11, 2024

    This is why I prefer driving over flying any day.

  18. Nina K June 11, 2024

    Can anyone imagine being part of the Muay Thai team stuck in that heat after a world championship? They must have been exhausted!

    • Harold T June 11, 2024

      Yeah, dealing with that after an intense competition would be brutal.

  19. Derek June 11, 2024

    Shockingly poor customer service. The least they could do is offer sincere apologies and compensation.

  20. IAMSpartacus June 11, 2024

    Sounds like Qatar Airways has let their standards slip. Time to find a new airline.

  21. Fay L. June 11, 2024

    We need stricter regulations for airlines. They can’t keep getting away with this.

  22. Brian M. June 11, 2024

    Until they face serious consequences, airlines won’t change their ways.

  23. Kat W. June 11, 2024

    Imagine if someone had a serious medical condition. This could have been deadly.

    • Dr. Harris June 11, 2024

      Medical emergencies on flights need to be handled with the utmost urgency and care.

  24. Michael G June 11, 2024

    Still can’t believe they made people stay onboard for three hours. That’s borderline criminal.

  25. Rachel June 11, 2024

    Qatar Airways had better fix their procedures before something worse happens again.

    • Ahmed June 11, 2024

      Agreed. It’s unacceptable, especially from a top-tier airline.

  26. Yoyo June 12, 2024

    From the outside, Qatar seems to be a great airline. From the inside, the company instill fear cuture into its employees. You will be terminated within a brink of your eyes when making decision they dont like. I am unaware of the nature of this event, but an aircon breakdown, APU inop, or any other failure is very common for airliners. We can fly with defects on many parts. It is even some 10-20% of the flight depart without any defects at all in its system. It is routine. You never heard of it doesnt mean it is perfect.
    There is a list from Boeing or Airbus which system can be inop and still can go with some amended procedures.
    This event, I suspect it is because of this fear culture thing that led the employees to not deciding anything for a long time.. because it could mean the end of their career. Just my 2 cents…

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