A LOT Polish station manager took up a cash collection from passengers in Beijing in order to pay a 787 repair bill so the aircraft could depart for Warsaw.
A LOT Polish Boeing 787 Dreamliner suffered a hydraulic pump failure in Beijing. LOT called in a Boeing-contracted mechanic, who made the repair but insisted on being paid in cash. Since the station manager did not have enough cash, he hit up passengers to make up the difference!
One passenger described the event:
He asked several people, he took 400 RMB from just us. We are at the international airport. I cannot believe that transactions take place here in cash under the table with the mechanic standing next to the plane. Incredible!
A LOT spokesman explained:
An employee at the Boeing warehouse in Beijing refused to accept a bank transfer and insisted on cash. The representative of LOT should have both cash and credit card with him. The company provides them with funds to solve similar situations. There are no circumstances that justify asking money from passengers.
He added that disciplinary measures will be taken against the employee who took up a collection.
But can you blame him? He had 250 people waiting to fly to Warsaw, and the alternative was an even greater expenditure in delay compensation. It sounds to me like the station manager did the best he could, under the circumstances, to address an unreasonable repair man. What’s LOT going to do? Overnight a credit card or send him to Western Union? The bigger problem, it seems, is that the Boeing repair man insisted upon cash.
Upon landing in Warsaw, the small group of passengers who had forked over the money were immediately repaid. All passengers onboard were eligible for EU261/2004 compensation of 600EUR each for the delay.
All this over a $576 repair bill! As more airlines go cashless at outstations, this is a prime example of why keeping some cash in the back office still makes sense.
image: Masakatsu Ukon / Wikimedia Commons