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Time often seems to fly …  except when you’re actually flying, especially if you’re in a middle seat of economy. Heck, these days, anywhere in economy can make time stop, depending on the airline, the capacity and your seatmates.

Heatwave in Athens, Greece.Well, time stopped yesterday for Qatar Airways passengers in all classes on a flight from Athens to Doha. According to The Independent, “dozens of Qatar Airways passengers had to endure an extreme heatwave in Greece while stuck inside the flight for three hours on the tarmac without air conditioning.”

If you read my daily travel tips newsletter, then you know that yesterday (and today) was unseasonably hot in Athens, which is saying something. It was so hot, officials closed schools and the famed Acropolis during the afternoon hours. According to the AP, “temperatures exceeded 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) on Thursday in much of central and southern Greece, including greater Athens.”

The government was smart to close the archaeological sites to protect tourists but it looks like they might need to do something about their international airline partners. According to reports, the captain of the Qatar Airways flight “refused to allow passengers to deboard the aircraft despite the air conditioning system being out of order, the passengers complained. They were kept on the plane for three hours with the flight doors closed.” There was also supposedly no drink service, which is unacceptable and is certainly not befitting an airline that was named the World’s Best Airline for 2024 by While I too have regarded Qatar Airways as one of the best airlines in the world, stories like this and their poor handling of the situation make you reconsider whether the accolades are deserved.

A video (embedded below), posted on Instagram by sports therapist Garth Collins, showed restless passengers trying to keep themselves cool by using makeshift fans, while some men were seen standing without shirts. Garth captioned read: “@qatarairways how about helping your stranded passengers from flight QR204 that are stranded in Athens? Your handling the situation is atrocious at best. Passengers were left stranded on the plane for 3 and a half hours with doors closed and no aircon. Passengers were literally dehydrating and passing out on the plane. They were finally allowed off of the plane and are now sitting in a queue with no communication from the company as to what the situation is. Passengers have connecting flights out of Doha that will not be made. There is one person available at the Qatar check in desk helping one person at a time.”


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Garth Collins (@granitebodies)

The video really captured the moment; I could almost feel the stifling heat and their frustrations. Because of the extreme heat that Europe experienced last summer and is expected to experience this summer, I recently wrote about a travel essential I advise everyone to have in their carry-on bag: A handheld fan like this one, or a wearable neck fan like this one.

The first time I bought a portable fan was about 12 to 15 years ago when I was stuck on an Italian low-fare carrier. We were waiting to take off from Naples to Venice and I saw a passenger with a fan that attached to his laptop via USB. It was so hot and I was so jealous. Stories like this one are exactly why I always travel with one now. My wife bought three more fans (one each for her and our two kids) for our summer travels. This is also why I always make sure I have reusable water bottles for me and my kids, that I can fill up on the other side of security. These collapsible water bottles are a great option because they pack down flat when you don’t need it.

H/T View from the Wing


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