Photo: unoslau/Twitter

United Airlines Passengers Stuck for 16 Hours on Freezing Canadian Military Base

by Eben Diskin Jan 22, 2019

While en route from New Jersey to Hong Kong, United Airlines Flight 179 got diverted to Goose Bay Airport in Labrador, Canada, for a medical emergency. But what was supposed to be a short stop turned out to be a 16-hour ordeal because of an ensuing mechanical issue with an exit door. The CBC explains that the door malfunction may have been linked to the spat of extreme cold in Labrador — it was minus 20 degrees Fahrenheit on the military base that night.

The plane and its 250 passengers landed in Labrador at 10:00 PM and, despite the length of their layover, were not immediately allowed to leave the aircraft due to the lack of customs officers at that time of day. According to Steven Lau, a passenger on flight UA 179, passengers were later allowed to leave in groups of 15-20 to stretch their legs.

While there were some concerns about food during the layover, officials (a bunch of nice Canadians, for sure) brought Tim Hortons coffee, muffins, doughnuts, and sandwiches to the travelers.

A rescue plane landed at the airport at noon the next day, but it took another two hours for the passengers to be bussed to the aircraft.

The rescue plane flew passengers back to New Jersey, arriving around 6:00 PM.

United apologized for the incident, and has pledged to do everything possible to make it right with customers. Upon their arrival back in New Jersey, passengers were offered free meals, hotel accommodations, and compensation.

H/T: USA Today

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