What would you do if United Airlines diverted your plane to Wyoming and then left you there? That’s what happened to Roger Barbour just before Christmas of last year. From USA Today:
Tears filling his eyes, Roger Barbour watched in disbelief as two United Express jets took off without him just before Christmas at the Cheyenne airport in Wyoming. He wasn’t the only one left behind.
Two planeloads of passengers — 110 people — whose flights had been diverted to Cheyenne after a blizzard hit Denver’s airport on Wednesday, Dec. 20, were shocked the next day when the pilots and flight attendants boarded the aircraft and flew to other cities without them.
Some in the airport cried as they were left behind. Others were furious or stunned at the move, which U.S. Department of Transportation officials later called highly unusual. “I couldn’t believe they were actually leaving us,” says Barbour, who was going to his wedding in Canada after attending his father’s memorial service in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
It seems that airlines, big and small, are just not equipped to handle severe weather. Apparently, United had hired buses to take the stranded passengers the rest of the way to Denver, but didn’t inform them.
U.S. Department of Transportation spokesman Bill Mosley says he didn’t know of another case in which a diverted flight left its passengers behind. Hinderman says he was “flabbergasted” when the jets took off without the passengers, whose flights had begun in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Columbus, Ohio.
“I’ve been in aviation since 1984,” he says, “and I’ve never heard of such a thing.”
Way to go, United. —MEGHANN MARCO
‘Abandoned’ in Cheyenne [USA Today](Thanks,formergr!)