3-Day Delay For United Flight Results In Brawl With Airport Employees

When you’ve been stuck for days simply trying to board your flight back home, it’s understandable if things get a little tense. But you don’t necessarily expect it to degrade to the point where you are involved in fisticuffs with airport employees.

And yet, passengers on United Airlines flight #87 from Shanghai to Newark International say things got rough when, on the third day of delays, airport baggage handlers just began tossing passengers’ luggage off the carousel.

United Airlines flight from Shanghai, China, to New Jersey should have taken just 13 hours, but it took some folks three days to make that trip, after a firestorm of protests, threats, even violence.

One passenger describes a fight between another traveler and airport staff to ABC News: “They [airport officials] grabbed him by the tie, and they pulled him physically across the counter and started slapping him.”

The flight was to have left Shanghai on Wednesday, but was canceled twice due to maintenance on the Boeing 777. On Friday, they were finally promised that they would be put on the next possible plane, even if it meant bumping passengers from that flight. But then that flight was delayed because no crew was available.

“Some of the Chinese people wouldn’t get off the plane,” a passenger tells ABC. “They were protesting, and the other people were trying to break down the door trying to get back in the airport.”

The flight finally landed in Newark on Saturday. The airline says it will provide passengers a full refund and reimburse them for expenses. They will all each receive a $1,000 voucher for future United travel.

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