Passengers were stuck on a United Airlines plane overnight after a medical emergency forced it to land in Canada
- A United flight from Newark to Hong Kong ended up returning to its departure airport - but not until after spending more than 15 hours at a frozen Canadian airport.
- Passengers were unable to exit the plane after it landed for a medical emergency because there were no border agents working overnight.
- The flight was eventually accommodated on a backup plane returning to Newark - and welcoming Canadians sent snacks and Tim Hortons coffee to stranded passengers.
An unlucky string of events left a United Airlines flight from Newark to Hong Kong stranded on a frozen Canadian tarmac for more than 15 hours as passengers awaited a rescue plane.
Many of the passengers, including Steven Lau, documented the nightmare on Twitter:
Luckily, some well-wishing Canadians showed up with hot food and warm drinks for the frigid passengers, including - of course - Tim Hortons.
The backup plane from Newark finally arrived, and passengers were flown back to Newark at 3:30 p.m. the next day, a United Airlines spokesperson said.
"Upon arrival, customers received reimbursement, compensation, hotel accommodations, and meals," the airline said in a statement. "We apologized to our customers for this experience - our crew and operations did everything possible to assist customers during the delay."
Nearing 8 hours of sitting in a @united plane on a tarmac in Newfoundland and Labrador, waiting for the supposed "rescue plane" to arrive. But Google Maps tells me I could walk to New York in about 20 days, so keeping that option on the table- Steven Lau (@unoslau) January 20, 2019
United Airline- UA179! One mess after another.. pic.twitter.com/OoaRyMsuCe- Mark Huang (@huangmark) January 20, 2019
Still on the tarmac in Goose Bay (13 hours and counting) but at least now we have some donuts, sandwiches, muffins, and coffee from @TimHortons. Thanks to any local Canadians who are involved and helping! @Philipearle- Steven Lau (@unoslau) January 20, 2019
Four @united tech ops workers trying to fix the right wing emergency exit door of #UA179. A planeful of people is hoping they have better luck than the last set of mechanics and pilots who tried hours ago @United_179 pic.twitter.com/PlC41Rh7qp- Steven Lau (@unoslau) January 20, 2019
They are off and on route back to EWR as @united UA8179. #UA179 Happy travels and always know that despite what others may want you to believe #canada and #Canadians are the best neighbors. @BruceAHeyman I'm sure you will agree with me on that. @FlightAlerts_ pic.twitter.com/G80znmKhn5- Philip Earle (@Philipearle) January 20, 2019
To end this thread, I just landed back home in VA.- SONJAY (@sonjaydutterson) January 21, 2019
I'll miss the EWE show in Macao on Tuesday. My apologies to those fans coming out for this debut event.
I landed in Goose Bay 25hours ago last night after flight diverted. Now, home to my bed. Wow. Thanks for following along