Diverted Flight Sits on Tarmac for 7 Hours With No Food or Water

I’ve been on a diverted flight before and I felt trapped sitting on the tarmac while the airport figured out what to do with us.

A United flight en route to Denver was diverted to Colorado Springs where it sat on the tarmac for seven hours before being cancelled.

Even though they were at the airport, passengers were told they weren’t allowed to deplane.

According to the Denver Channel:

The passenger said the pilot told passengers that if they got off the plane, they would not be let back onboard. She heard several complaints about no food or water, the smell on the plane and that there was no air conditioning, KRDO reported.

I would go completely stir crazy.  With a diversion especially, you have no idea what’s going to happen next.  For these poor people, they waited on the tarmac for seven hours, only to be bused to DEN.  Had they been allowed off the plane, there are shuttle buses for around $40 that would have saved 7 hours of their lives.

But had they gotten off the plane and this was their outbound flight, the airline could have cancelled the rest of their ticket.  But I’ve walked away from a diversion / delay before.  You just need to see the gate agent before you leave and have them reconstruct the rest of your ticket.

But that’s not something the airline will proactively tell you.

Have you ever been diverted or stuck on the tarmac?

About Jeanne Marie Hoffman

Former bartender, still a geek. One equal part each cookies, liberty, football, music, travel, libations. Stir vigorously. +Jeanne Marie Hoffman Jeanne on Twitter

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  1. This happened to me on a DL flight a few weeks ago. Although we were allowed to deplane and get back on the flight once we were ready to take off.

  2. I was held “hostage” on the tarmac at DTW for 4 hours once. It was our final destination and supposedly they did not have a gate for our plane. It was 95 degrees outside and the temp in the plane was approaching tHat. A friend that was with me made them get my briefcase with my inhalers and portable nebulizer out of the overhead. I used my nebulizer to get the meds into my lungs. I was still having trouble breathing when they found a gate. I still think they only found a gate because they were concerned with a lawsuit.

  3. I thought that stuff like this was illegal now.

  4. The rules are different, but this OUGHT to be illegal. This is an “inconvenience” if the plane is full of healthy college athletes. On a normal plane, with everyone from unaccompanied minors to marginally ambulatory seniors, this is a legitimate, and serious health risk.

    I’m glad the local news (and you) publicized this screw up, but I wish the national news would make more of a stink about these stories.

  5. I would’ve taken down the name of the pilot and filed a complaint. I know once the weather clears they have a short window of opportunity to depart, but once that second or third hour hits it’s inhumane to keep people trapped in a tube with no food and limited toilet facilities.

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