The Los Angeles to JFK flight was diverted in high winds due to Saturday's nor'easter, which led to the airport slowdown of JFK in New York, forcing the plane to divert 90 miles north at Stewart Airport in Newburgh, where it landed at 5:15 p.m. and that's where passengers sat stranded for four-and-a-half hours.
Virgin American flight 404 left from LAX heading to JFK at 7am Saturday morning, but for passengers on-board the total time, would not be 5 1/2 hours to their destination, it would take 16 hours and change and more delays.
you would think considering the past delays, Virgin America would have had an alternate plan. questions will be raised regarding why the Virgin America flight even departed in the first place considering that Departure Management procedures where active early in the morning from JFK and many of the major airports in the Northeast corridor.
"Because of 60-mph winds [in New York], the plane was forced to circle JFK until it was finally diverted to Stewart Airport in Newburgh — 90 miles north — for a 5:15 p.m. landing.There, the plane remained on the tarmac until close to midnight, passengers say. The airline said the wait was more like 4½ hours" as stated by a FAA spokes person.
"The problem started when the Stewart International Supervisor came on board and told the captain and the flight attendants that no one's getting off this plane," Martin said.
David Martin films a 16-hour Virgin America flight from LAX to JFK.
David Martin is back at the Tribeca's headquarters of his video social networking company, Kontain.com. (He supplied the video.) In fact, it was on his website where he posted the video of his horrible weekend experience aboard Virgin America flight 404.
Passengers became restless and hungry after they were forced to each just four Pringles each with half a cup of water, while one passenger suffering from a panic attack had to be escorted from the plane.
JetBlue, has facilities at Steward Airport heard about the problem flight and said they would take passengers for free on a 2 hour bus ride to JFK airport that would have them there about 3am.
Some passengers did eventually exit the plane. In a statement, the Port Authority said, "Port Authority Operations at Stewart Airport finally offered assistance directly to the pilot and crew and made all resources available to aid the delayed passengers."
Furthermore, we were told the pilot refused the staff's plea to leave the tarmac and pull up to a gate so passengers could come inside the terminal which makes no sense considering it sounds like the airport management gave in to let the passengers off the plane. I'll be interested to hear what the story behind this was considering the stories are flying from everywhere!
Virgin America, meantime, issued its own statement and accepted blame for what happened:
"We wish to further apologize for our handling of the delay. We pride ourselves on putting the well-being of our travelers first and making sure that, in stressful situations, we put our guests at ease. We clearly failed this on your flight."
The US Department of Transportation now wants more information from Virgin America as to why passengers were left stranded on the tarmac for so long.
That's because a new rule, which takes effect at the end of April, orders U.S. airlines to allow passengers off the plane after a wait of three hours.
Along with the apology, Virgin America offered its passengers a full refund.