‘Give us free alcohol!’: Frustrated American Airlines passengers trapped on Charlotte tarmac for six hours with no AC or food say fellow travelers were ‘having mental breakdown’
- American Airlines travelers endured a six-plus hour delay on a flight from Charlotte, North Carolina to New York City
- ‘Give us free alcohol,’ passengers shouted every time the pilot made an announcement
- Genna Contino, 23, a reporter with the Charlotte Observer on the flight, said there were limited announcements and no food or drink provided
- A couple who had paid $300 for MLB Subway Series tickets missed the Mets trouncing the Yankees
- A Spanish speaking woman suffered a panic attack and was reduced to tears over the conditions
- American Airlines apologized and said that weather and mechanical issues temporarily grounded the planes
- The three-hour flight was supposed to leave at 1:07, but did not take off until 5:58 p.m., touching down at 7:30 p.m.
Passengers on an American Airlines flight from Charlotte, North Carolina to New York endured a wilting six-hour delay in two boiling hot planes without food or water as fellow travelers cracked up around them.
Flight 327 began with great hope of leaving the runway on Sunday at 1:07 p.m. from Charlotte Douglas International Airport, scheduled to touchdown in JFK three hours later.
After the passengers boarded, however, the flight crew identified a ‘maintenance issue’ and takeoff was delayed while repairmen worked to fix the problem, according to airline spokesman Will Roach.
Passengers comfort a Spanish-speaking woman who appeared to be having a panic attack that reduced her to tears during the lengthy delay
Three hours later, the problem remained.
‘Just sat on a plane with limited AC for three hours while they were fixing the fuel tank,’ Charlotte Observer reporter Genna Contino tweeted during the protracted pause in her trip to the Big Apple.
‘Turns out they can’t fix it and now we’re switching planes,’ Contino said.
The airline said that it kept the jet bridge connected during the entire delay with the ‘preconditioned air duct hooked-up and the boarding door open’ during repair efforts.
Flight 327 began with great hope of leaving the runway on Sunday at 1:07 p.m. from Charlotte Douglas International Airport, but didn’t take off until 6 p.m.
Flight 327 remained at the gate during the repair effort, but passengers said that they were not allowed off the plane and the air-conditioning was off.
That was little comfort for some passengers who grew angry and lashed out over the delays.
‘Entering hour 6 of sitting on a plane with no AC, no food no drink service. Someone on the flight is having a mental breakdown. This is wild,’ she tweeted.
Contino, who was on her way to attend a conference on fiscal reporting at the City University New York University Journalism School, told the MailOnline that a woman who was speaking Spanish appeared to be complaining about the grueling conditions on the flight and began to weep over the lengthy delay.
American Airlines blamed lightning for delaying the flight, but passenger Genna Contino said there was no storm
‘She was crying — it looked like an anxiety or a panic attack,’ she said.
A couple sitting close to her had scored $300 tickets to the MLB inter-league Subway Series opener missed the chance to see the Mets dust the Yankees 6-3.
‘They completely missed the game,’ she said.
Contino said that she was ‘trauma bonding’ with fellow passengers who were growing increasingly frustrated as the time dragged on.
She boarded the plane at 12:45, hoping for wheels up shortly after 1 p.m.
After the initial announcement of a delay, the flight attendants came around and offered half a cup of water to the parched passengers, Contino said.
After a few hours, hope was fading and every time the pilot came on the intercom, which she said was not often, passengers would groan and shout ‘Give us free alcohol!’
But nothing came to dull the pain of waiting, she said.
The airline spokesman insisted that passengers were allowed to mill about and deplane if they needed to, but Contino said that wasn’t consistent with her experience.
‘Someone beside me said they tried to leave, but were told no,’ she said.
As they entered hour three, the pilot announced that they were switching planes and the travelers were herded off the Boeing 737 to the waiting area.
‘They didn’t say go get food or you have time to eat,’ she said.
American flight crews boarded another flight to Orlando, Florida while the weary passengers huddled close by, not wanting to miss their flight.
‘I just went to get a sandwich,’ Contino said. ‘I just hoped that I didn’t miss my flight.’
At least one passenger bought another ticket on a different flight having lost hope in Flight 327.
The flight crew finally boarded them on another flight at 4:30, but the airline claimed that due to lightning in the area the plane was grounded again until 5:58, according to Roach.
‘It was not storming and they never said anything about a storm,’ Contino said.
She said that the flight attendants apologized profusely throughout the ordeal.
‘They did not do anything wrong,’ she said. ‘It was a bad situation all around.’
She said that the attendants were helpful showing them how to fill out complaint forms on the airline’s website and Contino already received a $125 flight credit.
‘We know it can be frustrating when travel doesn’t go as planned, and apologize to our customers for the inconvenience,’ Roach said in an email.
When the flight finally touched down at JFK in Queens at 7:30 at night, Contino said that a cheer went up in the cabin.
‘Everyone applauded,’ she said. ‘We didn’t think we’d make it.’