Author Topic: Passengers unable to leave plane on Goose Bay tarmac during extreme cold warning  (Read 1042 times)

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Offline Blackadder1916

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United Airlines plane diverted to Goose Bay leaves passengers stuck on board for over 13 hours
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/united-179-goose-bay-1.4985858
Quote
Passengers unable to leave plane during extreme cold warning

Lukas Wall, Malone Mullin · CBC News · Posted: Jan 20, 2019 1:02 PM NT | Last Updated: an hour ago

 United Airlines plane diverted to Goose Bay Airport in Labrador Saturday night has resulted in a lengthy stay on the tarmac, according to passengers stranded on the aircraft.

In a statement to CBC News, the airline says United Flight 179 travelling from Newark, N.J., to Hong Kong was diverted to Goose Bay, N.L., due to medical emergency, where medical personnel met the plane and brought the passenger to hospital.

However, a mechanical issue prevented the plane from taking off again. Passengers were not able to leave the aircraft because customs officers were not available overnight, United said.

Passengers told CBC News 250 people are on board and have been waiting more than 13 hours for a replacement airplane.

The airline believes cold weather caused a door on the plane to malfunction, preventing takeoff. Happy Valley-Goose Bay is currently grappling with an extreme cold warning issued by Environment Canada, with temperatures dipping below -30 C.

Communication poor, passenger says

Temperatures on the plane quickly plummeted to "uncomfortable" levels, said passenger Sonjay Dutt, a professional wrestler en route to Hong Kong for a show.

Crew handed out blankets, but according to Dutt, they were able to offer little else to assuage mounting anger from passengers.

"Communication could be better," Dutt said in a phone call from the plane. Passengers were told at the start of the delay that a rescue flight had already departed to return them to Newark. An update wasn't announced until about five hours later, he said.

They were also told the airport didn't have the customs capacity to handle hundreds of passengers, Dutt added.

Dutt also said food and water was running low until about 10 hours into the delay, when officials delivered Tim Hortons to hungry travellers.

Most appreciated the gesture, Dutt said, but reaction to the offering was muted.

"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."

Other passengers on board tweeted out complaints to United, wondering why they had been told a replacement plane was in the air and were not informed of further delays. Dutt said a pilot told passengers to email United's CEO with complaints about communication practices.

A Twitter account sprang up Sunday morning poking fun at the situation.

In its statement, United said an alternative aircraft had been sent to Goose Bay to fly passengers back to Newark if mechanics are unable to fix the malfunctioning door.

Passengers reported that rescue plane touched down around noon local time.

The airline said it had food delivered to the plane and the second aircraft would provide more meals for passengers.

United said it apologizes to its customers and is doing everything possible to assist them during the delay.

I suppose it is just so easy to criticize United; at least no guitars were harmed in this story.

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Offline Hamish Seggie

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Common sense seems to be the underlying issue here facepalm 🤦‍♂️
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Offline Brihard

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Anyone else starting to wonder if United Airlines is some horrendously rich and mildly evil guy's bizarre social experiment?

Though at least they didn't beat the snot out of anyone this time around.
Pacificsm is doctrine fostered by a delusional minority and by the media, which holds forth the proposition it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.

Offline Navy_Pete

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There must be some kind of procedures to allow passengers to disembark to the airport without clearing customs, that's crazy.  I'm sure they could have been in some kind of holding area before customs so they were at least inside and able to walk around.  People would have still complained, but being stuck in those tiny seats for that long can't be good for you.

Any bettors on whether it would have involved some kind of extra costs to UA that they didn't want to pay?

Offline JesseWZ

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I’ve never been to Goose Bay but my understanding is it’s TINY. There may not be a place to wait prior to customs, or maybe not even someone available to unlock the doors. We’re not dealing with a 24/7 airport. Most of the day to day staff probably work only part time a la other Northern or isolated spots. I’ve flown into Lynn Lake MB, amongst other spots and been impressed with just how little there is in the way of infrastructure and staff at these spots.
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Offline YZT580

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As a crown official I would think that an RCMP officer could stand in for customs if they were not available in fact it may even be in their job description.  I am certain that Goose would offer some type of accommodation.  As for customs themselves, I know from flying that they will respond even if off duty if an emergency situation arises which this would certainly be.  They did for us when we had to deviate to an alternate due wx and there were no officers on duty at the time.  I think I would go along with the notion that UA just didn't want to pay the fees.
 

Offline Dolphin_Hunter

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Goose has the infrastructure (the base) and customs will show up when called.  I was surprised at how much there was in Goose Bay.

Here’s a story from 2015. 

https://www.cnn.com/2015/06/14/travel/united-flight-diverted-to-canada/index.html

Offline Rifleman62

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Offline Pusser

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I wonder how the musical about this flight will play out.
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Offline dapaterson

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I wonder how the musical about this flight will play out.

Stuck on the airplane
The toilet overflows
Stuck on the airplane
United really blows.

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Offline medicineman

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Stuck on the airplane
The toilet overflows
Stuck on the airplane
United really blows.

 :rofl:

Last time I flew United was for HLTA out of Port au Prince - one of the dudes with me had the snot scared out of him by one of the huge off season linebackers they had as a flight attendant when he got up a bit too early to get his overhead luggage out (as Canadian passengers seem prone to doing)...you'd honestly would have thought he was trying to steal this guy's first born the way he yelled at him.

MM
MM

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