Over 200 furious United Airlines passengers finally landed in New Jersey this weekend after a trip from Shanghai, China that should have taken 13 hours ended up taking three days.
United Flight 87 touched down at Newark Airport in New Jersey Saturday morning after days of cancellations and violent, heated encounters between passengers and United Airlines employees.
Passengers say the horrific experience began on Wednesday when airline officials announced they were canceling the Shanghai to New Jersey flight because the Boeing 777 needed maintenance, ABC News reported.
The stranded passengers stayed in hotels overnight, only to learn on Thursday that the replacement generator which was being shipped from the U.S. did not arrive in Shanghai in time for a Thursday take-off.
“You get the runaround by these airlines,” passenger Steve Borowka told ABC. “You’re so powerless, just so humiliated and frustrated and you get so upset.”
United told the travelers on Friday that they would placed on a different flight scheduled to depart that afternoon, and the passengers from that flight would be moved to another plane in order to avoid a third cancellation.
But then that plane began boarding without the stranded travelers, some of whom eventually formed a blockade around the gate so that no one could board.
“The people from both flights began arguing with one another,” passenger Ryan Jin told the Star-Ledger. “Police got involved; they knocked one man to the ground. Then the captain climbed on a chair and tried to explain things to people. They wouldn’t listen. Nobody trusted him.”
The pilot of United Flight 87 then told the travelers that the original Boeing 777 had finally been fixed and was ready for departure at another gate.
The ordeal didn’t end there, however.
Shortly after they boarded the plane, the flight crew announced that they had been on duty for too long and asked the passengers to return to the airport.
Passenger Pat Sinko said that several people refused to leave the aircraft.
“They were protesting, and the other people were trying to break down the door trying to get back in the airport,” Sinko said.
To make matters worse, passengers also had trouble finding their luggage during the nightmare.
They said their bags were dumped onto carousels without their knowledge, leading to physical altercations between the passengers and United employees.
“[Airport officials] grabbed him by the tie, and they pulled him physically across the counter and started slapping him,” Sinko said as he described what happened to another passenger.
Rahsaan Johnson, a spokesman for the airline, said it was a “very tough time” for the travelers, who finally arrived in the U.S. on Saturday, 72 hours after they were supposed to land.
“We hope they give us another chance to win their business,” Johnson told the Star-Ledger.
United has offered to pay for all expenses the passengers incurred during the delay. The airline is also giving each customer a full refund and $1,000 off future travel on United.
Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/united-airlines-13-hour-flight-takes-3-days-article-1.1115550#ixzz20qWeoUDc