When it comes to flying very long-haul, like Newark to Hong Kong, even business class can get a bit old and even feel cramped. But, can you imagine sitting in economy for 16 hours – on a runway, without going anywhere! This is what happened to United passengers this past weekend.
Travel Agony: Stuck on the Runway for Over 15 Hours
This trip started like any other long-haul as the United flight departed Newark at 3PM on Saturday for Hong Kong. However, there was a medical emergency so the flight diverted to Goose Bay, Canada, arriving a little after 9PM that night. The passenger was taken to a hospital.
Stuck Door and No Customs Officials
This was where the nightmare for the rest of passengers started. Because there were no customs officials available at that time of night, the passengers had to remain on the plane. The next development to this travel nightmare was that the door was stuck (or, “frozen” according to some reports). This meant that it needed to be repaired before it could continue on the journey.
Replacement Aircraft Sent the Next Day
United finally sent another plane to get these passengers the next day. This meant that the passengers were stuck onboard all through the night – while on the runway. They arrived back in Newark a little after 5pm yesterday (Sunday), a full 26 hours after departing from Newark!
According to various passengers, it seemed like the flight attendants did the best they could to take care of the passengers while onboard. In fact, some passengers even praised the crew for their handling of the delay. There were some tweets and reports that food was running low (this was to have been a long flight anyway so they probably had food for quite a while) but Canadian officials brought coffee and donuts from Tim Horton’s in the morning.
According to one news report, United has refunded the passengers for their ticket purchase, given them $500 credit, and a $100 gift card.
Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock and not of the aircraft involved in the delay