Travel News

Flight Dropped 20,000 Feet and Passengers Began Calling Loved Ones to Say Goodbye

a white airplane in the sky
Written by Charlie

Earlier this month, a plane suddenly descended 20,000 feet and scared everyone onboard, prompting calls to loved ones to say goodbye.

A couple of weeks ago, Aegean Flight 560 left Thessaloniki bound for Barcelona and all of a sudden began to lose altitude. Fortunately, they landed safely and everyone was ok.

Aegean Flight Descended 20,000 Feet in 4 Minutes

Aegean flight 560 departed and hit its cruising altitude of 36,000 feet enroute to Barcelona from Thessaloniki. However, after about 30 minutes, the plane suddenly began to drop, descending to 10,000 feet before it stabilized a little and made an unschedules landing in Naples, Italy.

People onboard this plane (one was a friend of a friend) said that plane had started rattling and the angle was steep as the plane began losing altitude. Some of the passengers began to call family members or send messages to say goodbye, thinking the plane was going to crash.

a screenshot of a device showing a graph

One passenger onboard, Chesney Hawkes, said that even the crew were “terrified and in tears” and the captain made an announcement that said it was an “emergency descent – brace”. The oxygen masks came out.

The pilots were eventually able to even it out and they made the landing in Naples. Aegean issued this statement:

“AEGEAN would like to inform that flight A3 560, departing from Thessaloniki to Barcelona, with 156 passengers and 6 crew members, was diverted to Naples airport following a gradual decompression during cruise. The captain following procedures requested to divert into the nearest airport and all passengers were safely disembarked. Another aircraft has already been dispatched to ensure passengers can continue their journey to their final destination.”

I have flown out of Thessaloniki hundreds of times and even flew this route before. I cannot imagine the panic that the passengers must have felt. I have had flights that made sudden drops in elevation before but nothing like this. In situations like and that severe turbulence, I always look to the flight attendants to see how they are handling it as they are the ones that would know if this is something typical or not.

In this case, even the cabin crew were nervous. No update on what the cause was of this but I am very glad that all were ok.

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.