Passengers were forced to sit on a British Airways plane at Newark Liberty International Airport for 5 1/2 hours when a storm moved through the area.
The incident, which occurred on November 7th, kept passengers on BA Flight 184, a Boeing 777 jet, on the plane an hour and a half longer than is allowed under federal regulations. The longest passengers can be kept on an international flight that sits on the tarmac is 4 hours.
The federal Department of Transportation is investigating the incident. British Airways could face a heavy fine.
‘In an e-mail to The Star-Ledger, British Airways cited “several issues with the de-icing rigs that caused significant delays. British Airways will never compromise the safety of passengers, so the flight was held until alternative equipment could be used to complete the de-icing.”
On Thursday evening, passengers at Newark Airport heading to Paris said such an experience would bring them to tears.
“During the first hour I’d play, or I’d read,” said Nicole Paris, a 25-year-old Parisian. “But then after the second hour, yes, I’d cry.”
Valerie Moray, 28, of Belgium, said she had been stranded on a tarmac in Brussels for two hours on a previous trip.
“You have nothing to do and of course you begin to be angry,” she said. “It was awful, and that was only two hours.”
Bill Mosley, a spokesman for the DOT, said weather may cause a delay, but it is not a good enough reason to leave passengers on a plane — only “safety, security or air traffic control-related reasons” qualify, he said. But, he added, “severe weather could cause or exacerbate such situations.”‘
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