Hong Kong Bound Flight Stranded for More than 14 Hours in -14 Degrees Weather in Canada
UA 179 at Goose Bay airport, Canada (Photo: Twitter)

A United Airlines flight from Newark airport in New York bound for Hong Kong had to land in Goose Bay in Newfoundland, Canada due to a medical emergency. But what was expected to be a short stop extended into a more than 14 hour ordeal with 250 passengers stuck inside the aircraft which was sitting on the tarmac throughout the night.

The United flight first landed at Goose Bay airport in Canada at 3pm local time. A passenger was taken to a hospital due to a medical emergency. But before the flight could take off, the crew noticed a mechanical issue in the plane. The flight was again grounded.

Passengers were restricted to the aircraft as there was no customs officer to process the passengers and to let them off at the airport. At this time, the temperature outside was hovering between -14 to -26 degrees Celsius.

As the passengers were made to wait inside the aircraft for more than 10 hours, the airline crew began to run short of food and drinks. This situation led to a passenger live tweeting his experience.

Mechanics arrived late Sunday morning and attempted to fix the door while the passengers were still on board. But the issue was not resolved which finally led United Airlines to send in a rescue aircraft. Passengers were moved to the new aircraft after a wait of almost 18 hours.

Many passengers have called United’s response to the entire episode “unacceptable.” A Twitter account sprang up Sunday morning poking fun at the situation.

But the fact is that Goose Bay airport in Canada is one of the most remote airports in the world and is mostly equipped to manage short haul flights. United Airlines operates flights from Toronto airport which is a three hour flight away and more could have been done for the passengers stuck onboard UA 179.