United Airlines passengers expressed frustration on social media Saturday after their flight to London was diverted to Canada — and they were put up in army barracks for more than 20 hours.
According to outraged passengers, their flight from Chicago to London was diverted to Goose Bay, in Newfoundland, Canada, where they were put up overnight at a military base, while the flight staff stayed in hotels and was nowhere to be found.
“Once we landed there was nobody at all from United Airlines to be seen anywhere,” passenger Lisa Wan told NBC News once she landed in London, 48 hours after her trip began. “No United representative ever reached out to anybody — no phone calls, no human beings, nothing. Nobody had any idea what was going on,” she said.
“The crew must rest in order to continue the flight. You can rest on board the aircraft knowing that they are in charge,” United wrote in a tweet to one disgruntled passenger.
Bob Chappell, who was also on the flight, said the lack of communication was especially infuriating because the accommodations were uncomfortable, and no one knew when they would be able to leave.
He said he and his wife shared a single bed, the couple shared a bathroom with the room next door and they “froze through the night because there wasn’t any heat.”
The average low temperature in the area has been 32 degrees this month, according to Weather.com.
United said in a statement that the flight had been diverted due to a “maintenance issue.” The passengers were placed in the barracks because “hotel space was not available,” according to the statement. United said they gave the travelers meals.
The customers were eventually flown to Newark, New Jersey, and departed for London from there on Sunday afternoon. The flight left Chicago at 5:26 p.m. (6:26 p.m. ET) Friday and landed in Goose Bay around 11:30 p.m. local time (10 p.m. ET), according to FlightAware.com.
The flight left Goose Bay for Newark at about 10 p.m. (8:30 p.m. ET) Saturday, and from there, flew to London where they arrived Saturday afternoon ET. The cost of their tickets will be refunded, the airline said.