Air France passengers endure 24-hour journey after emergency detour to Canada

The passenger saga of a hijacked Air France flight now extends well beyond 24 hours.

KOMO News has been following their progress since an emergency landing in Iqaluit, Canada, while heading to Seattle from Paris. KOMO News has confirmed that these passengers will now be returned to Seattle via Air France’s codeshare partner, Delta Airlines.

The crew of flight AF338 decided to divert to this remote town in northern Canada when there was a strange smell of heat in the cabin.

RELATED: Paris-Seattle flight diverted to Canadian Arctic city due to ‘heat smell’ in cabin

Air France told KOMO News that the crew’s decision was made based on three criteria:

  1. Manufacturer’s procedures
  2. Airline Instructions
  3. Application of the precautionary principle

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner had more than 260 passengers and 10 crew members on board when it landed at Iqaluit Airport at 10:44 a.m. local time. Firefighters from the local airport were there in force in case they were needed to prepare for any type of emergency.

Some passengers reported on social media that they were seated on the plane for four hours before being allowed to disembark. Local airport authorities in Iqaluit kept passengers in a secure area while awaiting the opportunity to continue their journey.

After more than 12 hours in Canada, Air France provided a plane and crew from Montreal to transport them to New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport. Then how do they get back to their original destination, Seattle?

Air France told KOMO News it is working to redirect passengers as quickly as possible to Seattle, but provided no timetable for doing so.

KOMO News is at Sea-Tac International Airport, waiting for a flight from JFK with these passengers on board.

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