A detailed description of the diverted Virgin Atlantic flight at Bradley Airport shows the chaos both passengers and flight crews were going through on the night of June 22. Passengers were stuck on the tarmac, sweating for more than four hours.
The Connecticut Department of Transportation has released its report on the incident. According to the Hartford Courant the DOT report states, “All of the established and appropriate procedures were implemented in receiving this diverted flight. “
Once the flight was canceled, crews and airport officials tried everything to get the flight back in the air and passengers off the plane, the report said.
Virgin Atlantic flight was diverted to Bradley on its way from Heathrow International Airport in London to Newark due to bad weather. Apparently a fueling error kept the flight from being able to take off to its final destination in New Jersey.
"Had the fuel been properly transferred, [Virgin Atlantic] flight 1K would have been ready for departure," the DOT report states.
The plane landed at Windsor Locks at 8:30 p.m. The last of the 300 passengers didn't deplane until after 1:30 a.m. the next morning.
Just after 10:30 p.m, Connecticut State Police were called to deal with an unruly passenger. But when a trooper got there, he was told by the crew that everything was OK and there was no longer a problem.
Fifteen minutes after that, the report stated that Customs Border Protection was contacted. According to the DOT, the policy does not allow passengers to deplane to a secured area unless customs is staffed with agents to process them.
However, given the time of the night, only one customs agent was on duty. It would be nearly midnight when enough customs officials would be on hand to properly deplane and process the international passengers.
The Courant says that passengers began to deplane by 12:20 a.m., and minutes later, ambulances arrived to take care of passengers who had medical problems.
It wasn’t until just after 1:30 a.m that all 300 passengers were off the plane and standing in the customs building. That is more than five hours after the Virgin Atlantic flight landed at Bradley
By 6:30 a.m., passengers were being bused to Newark, N.J., the destination of flight 1K.
In an email, DOT spokesman Judd Everhart told the paper, "These documents speak for themselves and we are not going to have any further comment."
A new rule puts a three-hour limit on the time that airlines can keep passengers waiting in planes, but it doesn't apply to foreign airlines.