The incident happened on July 25,2019, on a flight from Athens to Milan Malpensa. Initially I wrote a complaint to the airlines, but got no reply whatsoever. A month later, I lost a family member and pursuing writing the review online was the last thing on my mind. I had kept the initial letter to Aegean, hoping I'd get a reply eventually, but no reply came whatsoever (I had sent the complaint to Aegean airlines at the end of July, 2019!)
The incident took place on Aegeanair flight number A3 664 from Athens to Milan on the 25th of July, 2019 (15:20-16:55).
Five minutes after the fasten seat belts sign for landing took place, I started choking on the bar of biscuit/chocolate that the airline had given for dinner. We were still level with the clouds. I was in row 36 (seat 36D), the row before last, and the hostess was sitting right behind me. The food got stuck in my throat, at first, I tried to swallow it down but couldn't and I started to choke so I got up and told the hostess to please get me some water as I was choking.
She refused. I BEGGED HER to get me some water as I WAS CHOKING. She still REFUSED, she was right behind me, she said "in 2 minutes we will land". Which was ludicrous as we were still very high up and only five minutes after the fasten seat belts sign. I told her I was CHOKING AND PLEADED WITH HER TO get me some water, the kitchen was ONE STEP behind her, yet she sat there and ordered me in the coldest manner, to sit down and wait till landing! (I asked for her name later, she said "Florakis")
Fortunately, a kind fellow passengers from the back row gave me the rest of his bottle of water, I don't know what would have happened if he hadn't.
I was extremely distressed at such evil behavior towards a genuine emergency.
Please note the following:
1-We landed TWENTY minutes after she said "2 minutes".
2- EVEN 2 minutes could have been too late for someone who was choking! (But they were 20).
3- She was right behind me, a step away from the kitchen and water, and we were still level with the clouds and I begged her because I was choking and SHE REFUSED to do anything and told me off!
After landing, I went to speak to her and get her name (she said "Florakis") I told her she should know the difference between an emergency and a whim and that such behaviour was unacceptable. She rebuked ME because I was speaking to her in a stern tone of voice ( I was the one who was CHOKING only to witness a level of MALICE AND INHUMANITY, so much so that I was shaking with anger and distress for hours later, because I couldn't believe that someone could be so EVIL in the face of an emergency!) her "explanation" was that I should have requested water before the fasten seat belts sign was on, meaning, I guess, that I should have known beforehand that ten minutes later I would choke (?!?)
I told her I shall report this, so she said "I'll report myself" and talked to someone on the phone, and since I don't speak except 20-30 words of Greek, all I understood was "nero' (water)…. And given her level of evaluation to the situation (LYING about the time to land, and saying 2 minutes while they were TWENTY, claiming I should have warned her before, etc.) I do NOT trust that she reported truthfully on what actually happened.
You might tell me that no one should have eaten that bar of chocolate/biscuit they gave us while landing, however, the FACT remains that a human being was choking and begging for help, and help was just one step right behind me, but I was told off and ordered to sit down, be quiet and wait, while I was choking! I was to be "punished" for making the mistake of eating it and be left to choke?
Please also note the following:
- I'm 60 years old, I've been travelling for 44 years now, I stopped counting how many flights after 250, and I have NEVER HAD A PANIC ATTACK or suffered from fear of flying or enacted a scene on a flight. THIS WAS GENUINE DISTRESS AND CHOKING.
- I take Aegeanair when flying from Italy to Cairo, even though it is a LOT easier for me (timewise and effort-wise) to take a direct flight from Italy, but I do that for one reason: I love Greece and the Greek people, so I'd rather take an Aegean flight and stopover and pay a Greek business, than the easier more convenient route to travel, which is a direct flight.
While this evil behavior will not change my mind about Greece and the Greek people, it would change my mind about taking an Aegean flight EVER again. I expected the airline to this matter, and, beside a formal apology, to make sure to INFORM THE STAFF ONBOARD THAT WHEN THERE IS AN EMERGENCY, THEY MUST ATTEND TO IT. (I have the email I sent them last year, in case they see this and deny it ever happened, I also think that the passenger in the last row who gave me his bottle of water would remember).
Had that man not helped me, would Aegean have born the responsibility of what might have happened in 20 minutes of choking?
I wait ed for months, nothing ever came for a reply from Aegean airlines ( I submitted the complaint to the relevant address I got from their website). My intention was to give Aegean time to react first, and if they didn't, then to seek all possible online venues to report on this, but due to the passing of my mother, I did not pursue the matter months as I intended, but continued to hope that Aegean would reply, which never happened.
I decided now that such an incident was too serious to be left unreported, and if Aegean didn't lift a finger nor care to reply, I would, as intended last year, see to it that I write about it in the relevant websites, to make this HORRIBLE EVIL AND INHUMAN BEHAVIOR KNOWN to passengers who could easily be in my place.
By the way, I took several flights after that (Air Italy, Volotea) and NONE of them behaved that way, even after the fasten seat belt signs, they did not object to someone getting to go to the bathroom or needing a glass of water, except in the last 10 minutes of landing (whereas the sign is on some 20-25 minutes before landing). This means that such behavior was a PERSONAL CHOICE of that "Florakis" person, who had NO QUALMS about letting a passenger choke, because she decided it was not worth taking seriously. I shudder when I remember begging her, as I was coughing continuously, to get me some water as I was choking and she just ordered me to be quiet and sit down. It was PURE EVIL!
That day and for weeks afterwards, I felt traumatized by that experience.
Had my mother not passed away in the time I was waiting for a response from the airlines, this review would have been everywhere on the internet, and I intend to do that now, because what happened that day should NEVER happen to any passenger, and it should NEVER be without consequences, and if Aegean does not care about complaints regarding serious abusive behavior of its staff, then, such behavior should be made known through other venues.
I shall never take Aegean airlines again, and if I go to Greece in the future, it will be with another airline.
(seat 36D, Aegean airlines flight A3 664,25 July, 2019)