Imagine boarding a delayed flight from London to Newark. With nerves already frayed, you are told that all the mechanical issues have not been resolved and the air conditioning onboard is not working. You wait a little longer for the problem to be fixed and finally takeoff. You’ve already missed your connection, but can still make it to your final destination with only a half-day’s loss.
As you approach the East Coast of the US, the Captain announces that the weather is really bad in the New York metro area and you’re going to have to divert. What’s another few hours, right? Hartford, Connecticut is chosen and you soon land at BDL, over 100 miles from Newark. It’s late and there are no immigration authorities on hand to process the hundreds of passengers onboard. The plan is to depart for Newark as soon as the weather clears up. Unfortunately, the weather is getting worse.
Suddenly, the a/c goes out again and the cabin quickly heats up, as high as 100ºF. One hour passes by. Two. Passengers begin to get agitated as FA’s offer water, but no food. The weather remains poor and the crew has now gone illegal. The airline decides that it won’t be continuing on to Newark tonight. A request to deboard the plane is made, but border authorities threaten to arrest passengers who get off the plane because there are not a sufficient number of agents present to process the 300 people onboard. Three hours pass. Some passengers faint and many more feel sick. You’re feeling woozy yourself. The Captain assures the cabin that DHS is on the way and the misery will soon be over. Another hour passes.
Finally, airstairs are pulled up and you are allowed to get off the plane. Bus are boarded to take passengers to the terminal. Processing is slow and arduous, but by 1:00a, you have now legally entered the United States. Two more hours drag by as you wait for your checked luggage. Meanwhile, arrangements are being made to bus passengers to Newark’s Liberty International. Finally, at about 3:00a, busses are loaded and the three hour, 150-mile, overland journey through Connecticut and New York begins.
The sun is already warm and the humidity annoyingly sticky as you finally arrive at EWR, only about 11 hours behind schedule.
Talk about an airline horror story.