SINGAPORE – Many travellers headed for Singapore were stranded in Sydney for more than 24 hours after their Scoot flight on Saturday (Sept 30) was delayed then cancelled, leaving them anxious and angry.

Chaos reigned for the passengers of Scoot flight TR1 at Sydney Airport on Saturday as a defect in a circuit board grounded the Boeing 787 jetliner bound for Singapore. The flight had been scheduled to depart at 1.30pm Sydney time (10.30am Singapore time).

It finally took off at 4.33pm Sunday time (1.33pm Singapore time) on Sunday (Oct 1), more than 24 hours after the original scheduled departure time, and touched down in Singapore’s Changi Airport around 7pm.

Netizens took to social media to vent their frustration at snaking queues, interminable waits and other inconveniences.

One passenger, Facebook user Chai Yieng, said they had to spend a night at the airport, while user David Harris said it was “one of the worst days” more than 300 people have ever had.

Another affected passenger marketing executive Jay Teo, 31, who was on holiday with his family, told The Straits Times on Monday: “Preempting passengers what to expect would allow us to make informed decisions and prevent a chaotic situation after. That way, by 7pm, everyone would have been out of the airport and have enough time to have a good dinner, good sleep, and fly back the next day.”

He added: “Budget travellers should be easiest to appease. Because our expectations are not high. If there’s an issue, we understand. We are not paying a premium. Just explain what’s the issue, what we should do next and everyone’s happy.”

Scoot told The Straits Times that an avionics card in the aircraft had to be replaced, and the procedure involved a “software load” that took several hours. By the time it was fixed, limits on crew duty hours had been exceeded and they had to get their rest period of 12 hours as mandated by aviation regulations, causing the flight to be cancelled.

Scoot said it had tried to arrange for transport and hotel rooms for affected passengers, but there had been “limited options” due to the school-holiday crush.

Some passengers said that transport to hotels did not arrive at the airport, and some said that they arrived at one hotel in Sydney for overnight accommodation arranged by the airline, only to discover that the hotel was full.

Scoot apologised, and acknowledged the confusion caused by miscommunication with the hotels. The airline added that flight safety will not be compromised.

The Boeing 787 is one of a new generation of increasingly “smart” planes that rely on powerful on-board computers, such as for optimising fuel efficiency and ensuring the aircraft remains safely airborne.

Nearly a year ago, a Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-300ER was grounded for more than 24 hours by a computer glitch in Milan, drawing online flak from passengers.

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