Air France passengers spend 3 days in Siberia

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  • Tom Otley

    Passengers on an Air France flight from Paris to Shanghai were forced to make an unexpected stop in Irkutsk on November 11 after smoke was detected in their Boeing 777-300ER.

    Lacking Russian visas, the 282 passengers and crew were forced to remain on the tarmac in subzero temperatures in Irkutsk for hours before authorities  had them taken to nearby hotels for the night.

    The replacement aircraft then broke down.

    It seems unclear whether the French found the Siberian temperatures the real problem, or the ‘London’ pub in the hotel

    “Among those marooned in Irkutsk were the PR team of Louis Vuitton company headed by art director Michela Rossetti.

    Agnes Le Coroller even celebrated her birthday in the lobby of her Irkutsk hotel with colleagues Corinne Lee, Bérengère Laeuffer, Christophe Pelé, and Rossetti.”

    You can watch her video diary here


    Despite my efforts, I sadly never end up on exciting flights/trips/sagas like this. What a story to tell the grand-kids!

    “Especially given that here we were well received, and placed in good hotels” – looks like Air France did their best.

    And the London pub could have been much worse.


    In fact there was a similar incident with Air France some years ago.

    Then it was a B777 flying Tokyo-Paris. It encountered engine problems en route and was diverted to Irkutsk. Passengers were stranded there for a couple of days and, if I remember correctly, had to be transferred to an Aeroflot service to Moscow before being rescued by Air France.

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