Flying the Friendly Skies … With a Missing Wing Tip … Passengers Revolt


Wing? Who needs a wing? All aboard and thank you for flying.

Could you imagine being on an airplane about to take off, looking out the window Airplane_wing_tipand seeing that there was a 5 ft piece of the wing tip missing? Then imagine that you are told the plane was going to take off as planned and to fasten your seat belts. My bet is everyone would pay a little bit closer attention to the flight attendant and the crash procedure announcement.

Such was the case when SriLankan Airlines customers had been on the Airbus A340. A day earlier a piece of the wing was sliced off by a stationary British Airways 747 at Heathrow Airport. The departure was delayed by 24 hours. The passengers were then boarded on the same plane still missing the piece of the wing and expected to to fly ten hours to Colombo. Needless to say the passenger reaction was a minor rebellion. A note to the airline, we can do without the meals and extra service that has been taken away over the year. We can even do without the playing cards and abundance of honey roasted peanuts. However, we do insist that the planes we fly on be 100% intact.

When cabin crew then admitted there was still a 5ft wing tip missing, there was “a minor revolt” as seven passengers demanded to be let off the aircraft.

A further two-hour delay followed as their baggage was removed before the aircraft could take off.

Club-class passenger Ian McKie, 54, from Loughton, Essex, said: “We were put up in hotels the night of the crash and next morning we were told we would be on a different plane that day.

“We only realised that we were actually going on the same aircraft when we got to the Club lounge and saw the plane but without its wing tip.”

The SriLankan Airlines insisted there was no danger in flying without a wing tip. Who takes that chance or even puts passengers in that situation with the perception of danger? One would ask why the SriLankan Airlines delayed the flight in the first place if there was no safety issue?  Would you have got on this plane?

It added: “They are purely for aerodynamics and to keep fuel costs to a minimum. There is no impact on safety at all. Safety is our absolute priority.”

Posted November 4, 2007 by
Bizarre, Travel, World, WTF | 7 comments

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  • Comments

    7 Responses to “Flying the Friendly Skies … With a Missing Wing Tip … Passengers Revolt”

    1. nurturer on November 4th, 2007 10:58 am

      A wing is good. Two are better.

    2. Not As Stupid As You Think on November 4th, 2007 12:24 pm

      I ‘ve heard of flying on a “Wing and a Prayer” — but who would every think that the Sri Lanka Airlines would take that literally!! Two Full wings are always better than one (and a half) — and prayers are always acceptable when flying!

    3. dennisintn on November 4th, 2007 12:37 pm

      you’re right about all the prayers needed. for me, i’d be praying constantly for a safe landing and for a swift recovery for all the people injured while trying to put me in the plane to begin with.

    4. Scared Monkeys on November 4th, 2007 1:51 pm

      Could you imagine being told that your fight was delayed overnight because there was damade to a wing and then being put on the same plane with the same damaged wing and then being told, that there was no risk to your safety?


      A plane can fly with lesss than one engine, but that does not mean I am boarding that flight.

      SriLanka Airlines … Who needs a wing, when you can have a drum stick, instead.

      Or was that the slogan for SriLanka KFC?


    5. D on November 4th, 2007 6:24 pm

      Wings are required, this winglet only saves gas. Absolutely not nec. to be there…..

    6. Miss-Underestimated on November 5th, 2007 10:29 am

      WTF, what about the pilot? Are these guys like pilots or Kamikaze pilots? Jeez.

    7. Orville Wright on November 6th, 2007 9:21 am

      First of all, the circled damage in the picture belongs to the British Airways 747 in the background.

      Secondly, the delay was probably because technicians were assessing the extent of the damage and determining if it was safe to continue the trip. There are procedures in place to allow flight with missing and inoperative parts. More here…

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