Are you serious? Should this really cause a 2-hour flight delay?

A few days ago I wrote about my trip to Peru to see Machu Picchu. The trip was a great experience. I also wrote about our LAN Business class flight to Lima, which was delayed out of MIA due to a technical issue with the plane’s navigation system, and how that 3-hour delay caused us to miss our connection in Lima to get to Cusco.

What I didn’t mention was that on the connecting flight from Lima to Cusco, as we were sitting there on the runway and already cleared for takeoff, the captain said we were heading back to the terminal to repair a technical issue. I thought, with our luck, what are the odds of having back-to-back flight delays due to technical problems?

The plane pulled  back to the tarmac and since we no longer had a gate, the maintenance crew brought a staircase and climbed on board. We were sitting on Row 1, right next to the cabin door and the cockpit. After a few moments of paying close attention, we found out that the technical issue was that someone’s seatbelt in the back of the plane wasn’t working properly.

Clearly, you cannot have someone fly with a broken seatbelt. The plane was completely full, so switching seats was out of the question. My question is; is it really a good move to delay an entire Airbus 319 with 156 passengers for 2 hours while the crew fixes a single passenger’s seatbelt? Some people were even complaining of missing their connections in Cusco. LAN flights from Lima to Cusco depart every hour, and while I’m not an aviation expert and I shouldn’t second-guess the captain’s decision, I would think getting the passenger off the plane to a later flight, and even asking for a volunteer, would have been a much better solution than holding everyone else up.

Am I way off base? What would you have done in a similar situation?

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2 Responses to Are you serious? Should this really cause a 2-hour flight delay?

  1. Wandering Aramean says:

    Replacing a seat belt on a plane takes less than 5 minutes. I’ve removed and replaced them before. It is a trivial task. If they spent 2 hours to do it something else was involved at some level.

  2. travelguys says:

    Agree 100%. We just went by what we heard and the fact that 75 min into the delay there comes the maint. crew seatbelt in hand and into the cabin towards the back of the plane. Why it took them so long or what else was involved we don’t know, but at that point we just decided we would get there when we got there and not much more we could do. Def. worth the wait though.

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