As Virgin Atlantic passengers sat stranded for hours on a hot, grounded plane that was diverted to Bradley Airport, a pilot asked for permission to unload passengers but was denied, the airline claims.
Greg Dawson, a London spokesman for the airline, said in an e-mail on Thursday that a customs official at Bradley International Airport told the captain that passengers couldn't get off the plane until more immigration officials arrived and threatened to have them arrested if they got off the plane.
It took more than two hours for the officials to arrive, Dawson said .
Passengers have described the flight as "hell on wheels" and said people were screaming, "You can't treat us like animals."
Some passengers even passed out on the hot plane
The flight left London after a delay on Tuesday evening and arrived at Bradley when weather prevented the flights from continuing on to its final destination, Newark.
Airport officials have said there was only one customs official at the airport on Tuesday night when the flight from London to Newark, N.J., was diverted due to poor weather.