United Flight Diverted, Passengers Sleep on Floor At Airport

Flight Delays
image: Rick Sliter, NBC News article

Last week I wrote about a United Airlines flight which diverted to Goose Bay, Canada. The passengers got stuck for close to 24 hours and had to sleep in cold military barracks.

Now, just about a week later, a similar situation seems to have happened once again… Another United flight was diverted, this time due to an unruly passenger, leaving 269 passengers stuck for close to a full day.

United Airlines flight 971 was flying from Rome to Chicago and then the plane had to be diverted to Belfast “to offload a disruptive passenger” according to NBC News. (The passenger was arrested upon arrival in North Ireland.)

The plane, a Boeing 777 landed in Belfast at 6:59pm on Saturday and was refueled. The¬†flight was supposedly moments from resuming its journey when the passengers were informed that it wouldn’t be flying that night since the flight crew had reached the FAA work hours limits!

Due to a lack of hotel rooms in the area, passengers had to spend the night at the airport terminal sleeping on the floors. I have to say that this makes the military barracks accommodations (from last week’s diversion) sound comfortable.

The plane was rescheduled to leave Belfast at 4pm local time on Sunday, around 21 hours after they landed and 24 hours after leaving Italy!

Flight Delays
image: tweet from NBC News article

Passengers were offered $23 in meal vouchers but “there were long lines at the terminal’s limited cafes.”

According to the article, no urgency was shown by the crew to try to quickly take-off. Ice cream and sorbets were served to passengers and while taxying out to leave, the captain announced that they were two minutes over the time they were allowed to do in the cockpit. Passengers supposedly thought he was joking at first…

Find out more from NBC News here.

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