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United Airlines Passengers Stuck on Tarmac for 16 Hours



United Airlines passengers found themselves stuck on a plane on the Goose Bay Airport tarmac in Labrador, Newfoundland, on Saturday night for a whopping 16 hours.

United Flight 179 was traveling from Newark, N.J., to Hong Kong but was diverted to Goose Bay due to a medical emergency. After landing, medical personnel met the plane and took the passenger to the hospital.

However, a mechanical issue grounded the plane and passengers were unable to leave the aircraft because customs officers were not available overnight. United believes the cold weather caused a plane door to malfunction and prevent takeoff.

Two-hundred and fifty passengers had to then stay onboard and wait nearly 16 hours for a replacement plane to arrive and then be transported by bus to the alternate plane.

Sonjay Dutt, a professional wrestler en route to Hong Kong for a show, said that the temperatures on the plane lowered to uncomfortable levels. Beyond blankets provided by the crew, there was apparently little else to lower the passengers’ anger.

“Communication could be better,” Dutt said in a phone call to CBC from the plane.

Apparently, United Airlines told the passengers at the start of the grounding that a rescue flight had departed from Newark, but it took five hours later for travelers to receive another update. Passengers were also told that customs at the airport couldn’t handle hundreds of passengers.

About 10 hours into the delay, food and water ran low, so officials delivered Tom Hortons to the travelers.

“I think people are so fed up, and so at their wits’ end, that even the sight of food didn’t get everyone up and cheering,” Dutts said.

Passengers tweeted complaints to United, which eventually resulted in a Twitter account being created to make fun of the whole situation.

When the replacement plane arrived, it took another two hours before travelers were transported to the plane by bus.

United apologized to the customers and had food delivered to the second aircraft to provide more meals. However, we have a feeling that extra food isn’t going to make up for 16 hours stuck on a freezing plane on a tarmac.

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