United passengers watch planes leave empty

Feb. 20, 2007 at 12:32 PM
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CHICAGO, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- News of a U.S. airline stranding passengers in Cheyenne, Wyo., two months ago emerged in a USA Today report Tuesday involving United Airlines.

On the heels of mass strandings last week by the JetBlue airline, the newspaper reported how 110 passengers from two United Express flights were diverted to Cheyenne on Dec. 20 when snow closed the Denver airport.

The next day, the passengers were stunned to see their planes take off with nobody aboard, rerouted to Kansas City and Indianapolis for other flights.

In Chicago, United spokeswoman Megan McCarthy said several factors led the jets to leave empty, but mostly because United had no personnel in Cheyenne, it couldn't draw up the mandatory list of passengers as required by government security screeners.

Buses arrived the next day to take passengers to Denver, but many of the passengers were unaware and made their own arrangements.

Originally, the airline only offered a $150 credit for a United ticket to those affected, but on Monday night announced it would pay the hotel and meal expenses of all the passengers left in Cheyenne, the newspaper said.

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