Passengers on a Lufthansa flight from Dublin to Munich say they were left high and dry when their flight was diverted due to technical problems, not once but twice in the space of a few short hours. In the end, passengers on the Lufthansa operated Airbus A321 finished their journey on the troubled aircraft in Brussels – 374 miles short of their intended destination – and had to be accommodated on a different aircraft later the same day.
Lufthansa flight LH2515 departed Dublin at 11.15am on Saturday morning for what should have been a near two-hour flight to the Bavarian capital. What they probably didn’t know at the time was that one of two air conditioning system (or packs) on the aircraft wasn’t working.
The Airbus A321 is fitted with two air conditioning packs that cool hot bleed air supplied from the aircraft engines in order to provide sufficient cabin pressure inflight. However, it’s possible to safely operate a flight with just one pack working under European regulations. In this case, Lufthansa was probably hoping to get the aircraft back to its base in Munich where its own engineers could fix the problem without any risk to passengers.
Unfortunately, shortly after takeoff, the second air conditioning pack failed which risked a situation where cabin pressure could drop to dangerously low levels. The flight crew started a descent and then eventually decided to divert to Heathrow Airport in London where Lufthansa has quite a significant operation.
A spokesperson for Lufthansa tells us that their engineers in Heathrow were able to fix the problem and around three hours after touchdown in London, the flight was back on its way. At this point though, it turns out the pilots and cabin crew were running out of the hours they could work and wouldn’t have been able to legally operate the flight all the way to Munich.
On 03rd August 2019, Lufthansa flight LH2515 operated by an Airbus A321 (D-AIRW) scheduled from Dublin (DUB) to Munich (MUC) diverted to London (LHR). The reason was due to insufficient cabin pressure during cruise flight.
The technical defect could be repaired in London and the flight resumed operations afterwards. However, as result of the crew having reached their maximum duty time, LH2515 could not fly to MUC, but had to land in Brussels (BRU). In BRU the guests were rebooked on other flights to their final destinations.
Among other things, the regular evening flight between BRU-MUC was operated with a larger aircraft as usual to offer more capacity. The safety of our passengers and crew are Lufthansa’s number one priority at all times.
It’s not clear whether Lufthansa knew this was the case before the flight departed Heathrow or it only became apparent once it had departed. In any case, the flight had to divert again and ended up in Brussels where passengers had to be rebooked onto their third flight of the day which was operated with a larger aircraft type to accommodate everyone.
Obviously, technical problems affect every airline and occasionally there are delays and cancellations because of these issues. It’s far rarer, though, for the disrupted passengers to be diverted twice – for two separate reasons. The cabin pressure problem wasn’t severe enough for oxygen masks to drop and it appears that many passengers on the flight were more frustrated by the long wait to get rebooked once they arrived in Brussels.
Lufthansa clearly realises that this wasn’t a great situation and a spokesperson says they “would like to genuinely apologize for any inconvenience this has caused our customers.”
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.