Yesterday's freak snow storm threw air travel along the East Coast for a loop. Flights were stopped for hours at JFK, Laguardia and Newark. And for one Newark-bound Jet Blue flight from Miami, that meant its 200 passengers were stuck on the tarmac at Bradley International in Hartford, Connecticut for eight hours. A Miami Sun-Sentinel sports writer, on his way to today's Giants game versus the Dolphins, Tweeted, "Lady on board just broke down. Like that guy who cried in his cell at the beginning of Shawshank. Can someone sneak me in Rita Hayworth?"
Flight 504, after circling Newark, was diverted to Bradley and passengers landed around 2 p.m. Of course, the storm was also impacting Bradley, and the plane waited on the tarmac. Passengers say that after three hours on the tarmac, Jet Blue informed them that by law (the Passenger Bill of Rights), they would be allowing passengers to leave the plane. But it didn't happen. A passenger told NBC Connecticut, "They were waiting for a tug to take us to a gate. We heard that same message at the four-hour mark, and continuing until state troopers boarded the plane for a medical emergency."
Andrew Carter, the sports writer, Tweeted, "To answer questions we're on Tarmac. No water. Bathrooms don't work. Don't know the reason why we're stuck. It changes," and he told the Hartford Courant while still on the plane, “We ran out of water. The bathrooms are all clogged up and disgusting. The power would go off every 45 minutes or so for five minutes or so, and that would freak people out. … I’ve heard about these kind of stories." The funny thing is that keeping passengers on the tarmac appears to go against Jet Blue's own passenger bill of rights, after stranding passengers on a plane for 11 hours in 2007.
Other passengers said that Bradley airport apparently wasn't prepared to bring them in. The airline said, "JetBlue is doing everything possible to ensure our customers affected by today's unusual combination of weather and infrastructure issues are being well cared for. We apologize for the experience." But one passenger said, "I'll never fly JetBlue again, and I'll never fly through Connecticut again."
Other flights were delayed, including a Jet Blue flight between Boston and New York that was delayed at Bradley: One passenger reflected this morning that John Galt probably wouldn't have approved, "Was actually like a scene out of atlas shrugged last night. No leadership, no accountability, & dumb mistakes @jetblue and #bdl airport"
As for Carter, he finally headed to NJ this morning.