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JetBlue passengers endure 7-hour tarmac delay at Hartford airport

October 30, 2011|By Mary Forgione | Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger
  • JetBlue passengers recount miserable conditions aboard a plane during a 7-hour tarmac delay.
JetBlue passengers recount miserable conditions aboard a plane during… (Stephan Savoia / Associated…)

The surprise snowstorm in the Northeast that killed at least three people and knocked out power to millions of homes also stranded a JetBlue plane on the tarmac for seven hours in Hartford, Conn., an ordeal passengers say left them without food, water or working toilets.

Flight 504 from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to Newark, N.J., was diverted to Bradley International Airport in Hartford because of bad weather. The plane landed about 1:30 p.m. but didn't make it to the gate until about 9 p.m. for reasons that still aren't clear, media reports say.

JetBlue posted this Twitter message during the long delay: "We can't deplane the aircraft until it's safe. Reports indicated unsafe ground conditions and unable to remote deplane."

Frustrated passengers tweeted their plight in hopes of getting help. Orlando Sun-Sentinel sports writer Andrew Carter was on the flight and told the paper from the plane via cellphone:

"We ran out of water ... The bathrooms are all clogged up and disgusting. The power would go off every 45 minutes or so for five minutes or so, and that would freak people out. … I've heard about these kind of stories." Passengers said firefighters later boarded the plane to evacuate a paraplegic who was having health issues.

In 2010, the Department of Transportation introduced steep penalties for tarmac delays longer than three hours. Violations could result in fines of up to $27,500 per passenger.

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