United passengers describe being stuck on a hot plane for 7 hours with no food, water, or AC

United passengers describe being stuck on a hot plane for 7 hours with no food, water, or AC
United passengers say they were trapped on a plane for seven hours on July 3.Thierry Monasse/Getty Images
  • United passengers were stuck on a delayed flight for over seven hours on July 3.
  • They say there was no air conditioning and that airline staff didn't offer them water.

United Airlines passengers described being trapped on their plane for seven hours on the runway in bleak conditions before the flight was canceled.

Passengers on flight UA40 were expecting to fly from Newark to Rome on July 3, but technical problems left the plane stuck at the airport. The flight-tracking site FlightAware says the service was canceled at 2:23 a.m. on July 4.

Instead, passengers said, they waited without food or water as temperatures on the Boeing 787 hit 80 degrees Fahrenheit because the air conditioning wasn't on.

Though the incident took place at the beginning of July, it didn't come to public attention until much later, after passengers posted on social media and spoke to news outlets about it, and the Department of Transport announced an investigation.

A TikTok video posted on July 17 showed the scene just after the passengers were let off.


@dragoneb United Airline Flight - EWR to FCO #united #unitedairline #unitedairlines #newarknj ♬ original sound - Bianca Dragone

One passenger, Bianca Dragone, recorded another, Christina Ieronimo, saying that somebody had fainted on board.

"There's children back there, and a girl had a panic attack and passed out — so that was a health concern," Ieronimo said.

"We had elderly people, we had babies, we have pregnant women — not even water, you didn't even pass around water," she said to a United employee.

"Nobody listened to me, I'm a critical-care nurse, and that was not good."

"We were trapped on that plane for seven hours in 70-plus heat, treated like animals."


Newsweek reported earlier this United delayed the flight repeatedly before canceling it, citing an unspecified "technical issue."

Speaking to Newsweek, Dragone said the plane reached a "truly unbearable" 80 degrees Fahrenheit and said that she, too, was aware of someone passing out "due to heat exhaustion."

Ieronimo said in a follow-up interview with CBS7 that airline staff hadn't offered passengers food or water — and that one flight attendant responded, "What do you want me to do?" when she raised her concerns.

United did not immediately reply to Insider's request for comment, sent outside normal working hours.

Both the airline and the US Department of Transportation told CBS7 that they would investigate the incident.