A United Airlines flight from San Francisco to Shanghai had to make a two-day pit stop in Anchorage, Alaska, after it was discovered that some of the jet’s toilets weren’t functioning properly.
The malfunctioning potties were brought to the flight crew’s attention about three hours into the flight. A rep for the airline says the plane was then diverted to the nearest airport, which happened to be in Anchorage.
The 262 passengers remained on the plane for a few hours until they were allowed to deplane. Because of the large number of travelers and the small amount of available staff, it took several more hours to sort out meal and hotel vouchers. Some impatient passengers just booked their own hotels rather than wait.
“It was 10 or 11 p.m. before we had the meal vouchers,” one traveler tells the Anchorage Daily News. “Everything was closed.”
The scene at the hotel wasn’t much better.
“[T]he hotels all wanted credit cards in order to check in,” another passenger explains. “There are a lot of people traveling back to China. They don’t have credit cards. Some of the passengers stepped in and let them use theirs.”
Things were looking up the next day when United flew in a second jet to get people on their way. Unfortunately, after several hours of sitting on the tarmac, the plane’s computer overheated and once again the passengers were told to deplane and get in line for more vouchers.
“They wouldn’t let us have our luggage,” said a passenger.
“Some of us made a run to Walmart last night to get socks and underwear,” said another to ADN.
The passengers were finally able to get out of Anchorage with the help of a third jet, but not until after having missed connecting flights and lost hotel reservations. United says it will be refunding the full price of everyone’s tickets and may offer further compensation.
Quipped one stranded traveler, “If we’d known we’d be here this long, we might have done some sight-seeing.”