400 passengers on 2 CanJet flights stuck on runway for hours

Jan. 6, 2014 at 9:27 PM
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FREDERICTON, New Brunswick, Jan. 6 (UPI) -- About 400 CanJet passengers aboard two jetliners found themselves stuck on a runway in Fredericton, New Brunswick, for about 6 hours Monday, officials said.

The two planes were heading to Montreal from Cuba when they were diverted to Fredericton about 3 a.m. because of freezing rain at Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported.

Passenger Ann Tetreault said she understands such problems arise in the winter but was angered by the airline's failure to communicate. Not only were flight attendants unable to tell passengers what to expect, a supervisor she reached by phone was no more helpful. She said her daughter missed a neurological appointment and her son missed class on the first day of the semester at his college.

"Hopefully the management of CanJet will re-look at the way that they're managing these crises," she said.

Tetreault said early on it appeared the planes would only be on the ground to refuel, but the freezing rain arrived in Fredericton and that meant the aircraft had to be de-iced with Air Canada plans getting priority. That delay put the CanJet staff near the end of their maximum allowed shift.

"There was no way they could get us out of the plane into the airport because we needed to go through customs. And they needed to find enough customs agents to process all of us," Tetreault said.

It wasn't until 9 a.m. that custom agents were found to process the passengers so they could enter the airport.

Airport spokesman John Hamilton said most of the stranded passengers were taken to a hotel, the CBC said. He said replacement flight crews weren't expected to arrive until 10 p.m. and some passengers may not leave until Tuesday morning.

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