200 passengers aboard a JetBlue flight diverted because of the unusual October snowstorm were forced to wait on the grounded plane for more than 7 hours with no food, water or working bathrooms.
At this moment, federal authorities are investigating why passengers aboard JetBlue flight 504 from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to Newark, New Jersey, were kept on the tarmac in “disgusting” conditions for so long after being diverted to Bradley International Airport in Connecticut.
Many passengers called 911 after receiving little explanation and the ordeal was only ended when police and firefighters came on board to help a paraplegic man who had difficulty with the circulation in his legs.
People wanting to leave were then told they could do so at their own risk, as the unseasonally early snow continued to fall. Loud cheers greeted the announcement.
The JetBlue flight had left Florida at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, and sat motionless on the Bradley runway from 01:30 p.m. to 09:00 p.m.
Andrew Carter, a football writer for the Sun Sentinel newspaper in Florida who was intending to cover today’s Miami Dolphins game against the New York Giants at the Meadowlands, was one of those left stranded, the Hartford Courant reported.
“Still on the plane. We haven’t moved. Now EWR closed. Getting ugly in here. People yelling wanting to get off,” Andrew Carter posted on Twitter just before 06:00 p.m.
“This is awful customer service,” Andrew Carter added to his followers.
“Still on the runway. Still blizzarding outside. Aren’t there rules about how long they can make people sit here?
“To answer questions we’re on Tarmac. No water. Bathrooms don’t work. Don’t know the reason why we’re stuck. It changes.
“Lady on board just broke down. Like that guy who cried in his cell at the beginning of Shawshank. Can someone sneak me in Rita Hayworth?”
While on the plane, Andrew Carter told the Hartford Courant via cell phone: “It’s been a long day. There’s been no real explanation as to why we’ve been sitting here for seven hours.
“We ran out of water. The bathrooms are all clogged up and disgusting. The power would go off every 45 minutes for five minutes or so, and that would freak people out. I’ve heard about these kind of stories.
“We’re close to the terminal. We can look out the window and see other planes.”
Andrew Carter said that while a few arguments popped up, passengers had mostly been well behaved.
Victoria Lucia, JetBlue spokeswoman said last night: “JetBlue is doing everything possible to ensure our customers affected by today’s unusual combination of weather and infrastructure issues are being well cared for.
“We apologize for the experience.”
The JetBlue flight was one of 23 aeroplanes diverted to Bradley Airport yesterday, according to Governor Dannel Malloy.
Connecticut was trying to move 1,000 cots to the airport late last night to help make stranded passengers comfortable, Governor Dannel Malloy said.
Bradley International Airport refused to comment.