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Diverted Flight Means 16-Hour Delay From Duluth To MSP

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS) Reg Chapman
Reg Chapman joined WCCO-TV in May of 2009. He came to WCCO fr...
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By Reg Chapman, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — For some airline passengers, the ice added an extra day to their travel plans. When pilots of a Delta Air Lines plane realized how icy it was in the Twin Cities, they re-routed to Duluth.

Those weary travelers were in pretty good spirits considering all they had been through.

For most, spending 16 hours in the Duluth airport was the worst part. No food, no water and no one around to let them know how and when they would get home.

“It’s been over 30 hours for us, 30 hours,” said tired airline passenger Julie.

Julie never thought it would take her and her three sons that long to fly home to Minnesota from the Bahamas.

“I’m so tired. I really don’t even know what day it is, to be honest with you,” said confused airline passenger Heather.

Heather said it shouldn’t have taken her this long to get home from Palm Beach.

They were both on the same flight that left Atlanta and was scheduled to land at Minneapolis-St. Paul International at 11:30 Saturday night.

“We’re coming over 35W and all of a sudden I see what must have been a big accident on 35W last night and we’re seconds from landing and we were the first plane they said ‘Nope were not going to let them land.’ And all of sudden we just sped up and kind of scared everybody on the plane,” said passenger Art Hennington.

Hennington said many on board knew weather was an issue.

What they didn’t know is they would spend the next 16 hours at the Duluth Airport.

“We stayed on the tarmac for two hours up there watching the movie ‘Salt,'” Hennington said.

He said then all 130 passengers were marched into a cold and dark terminal.

“Nobody’s there. Nobody knows what they’re supposed to do. They’re not going to pay for hotel rooms,” said Hennington.

“They were supposed to come in with food and water but that never happened,” said Heather.

These passengers say no one from the airline was there to answer their questions. Some paid for a hotel room but most slept on the floor inside the terminal.

“The next day we think we’re going to be the first one out because we have all these people. Well we find out the crew has to have a 10-hour wait, so now we have to wait until 12 o’clock,” said Hennington.

Four hours later they finally landed in Minneapolis.

“People were really good through I’m surprised there wasn’t any fighting. No one was too upset about missing the game and just kind of all hung out there. We’re just Minnesota nice,” Heather said.

Delta Air Lines says the original re-routing of the plane was done to refuel it. When the plane got to Duluth, the weather was so bad airline officials said safety was the priority and they grounded the flight.

Everyone on board the flight was offered a $100 voucher for the next time they fly Delta.

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