PHOENIX (AP) – Passengers on a US Airways flight from New York to Phoenix spent nearly 7 hours sitting on the tarmac waiting for bad weather to clear, finally arriving nearly six hours late, and presumably a whole lot grumpier.
Flight 17 from John F. Kennedy International Airport was due to leave at 6 p.m. Tuesday, but didn’t actually take off until about 1 a.m., airline spokesman Phil Gee said.
Dozens of other aircraft were delayed because of a storm passing through the area, which closed the airport for about 90 minutes.
Gee said the plane pushed back from the gate at 6:30 p.m. ET and spent hours sitting on the tarmac so it wouldn’t lose its takeoff slot.
The plane finally went back to the gate to refuel, but then resumed its wait for a takeoff slot. Several passengers decided to get off the plane while it was being refueled.
Flight 17 finally arrived at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport at about 2:45 a.m. MT Wednesday. Once they had taken off, the pilots shaved some time off the scheduled 5 hour flight.
The incident comes nine months after Congress was flooded with complaints from passengers left sitting on airplanes for hours last winter. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., introduced a bill that would prohibit airlines from keeping travelers stuck on the tarmac for longer than three hours in February.
Source: USA TODAY