Plane passengers endure three-day 'journey from hell'
Teary and exhausted passengers have lashed out at British Airways after they endured a 77-hour “journey from hell” from Florida to London.
The flight from Orlando to Gatwick Airport was supposed to take just eight hours but it arrived more than three days later on Sunday after being diverted through New York, the BBC reports.
Many of the passengers booked on the marathon journey complained of being left without food and being forced to sleep on airport floors.
Passenger Sarah Wilson spent almost $20,000 on a dream family holiday to Disney World, including more than $7000 on flights.
Ms Wilson told the BBC the holiday “turned into a nightmare” on their journey back, which was made worse by the “inhumane” treatment they received from British Airways.
"BA's customer service was disgusting, absolutely abhorrent," said the mother-of-four.
"The passengers were treated inhumanely, all we wanted was some food and drink, somewhere to sleep and to be kept informed - and they failed on all counts no matter what they claim."
The flight was due to leave Orlando on Thursday evening but a technical fault meant its 200 passengers waited four hours on the plane before eventually being disembarked and sent to a nearby hotel.
After two delays the coach back to Orlando Airport eventually left at about 8pm the next evening, Ms Wilson said.
Five hours later the flight left for Gatwick, but was diverted to New York about 40 minutes after take-off.
"The captain said over the tannoy, the original problem had come back," said Ms Wilson.
"It was the roughest one-and-a-half hours on a flight I'd ever experienced. Children were having panic attacks, the turbulence was awful and people were scared, tired and hungry.
"On arrival at JFK, first of all we had to wait until 06:00 ET for the BA staff to arrive and then told there was no food waiting and getting a hotel would be difficult because the New York Marathon was on and everywhere was fully booked.
"One mother asked where she could get formula for her seven-month-old baby and the reply was 'it would be difficult to find anywhere at this hour'. She was in tears.
Angry Tweets from passengers showed photos of their children, including one cancer survivor, sleeping on the airport floors.
With furious passengers close to breaking point, British Airways eventually opened its first class lounge to those stranded, but many did not even know about it, Ms Wilson said.
The passengers left the US on Saturday evening and arrived back in London on Sunday morning.
British Airways has apologised to passengers, saying it was sorry for the long delay.
“Our aircraft diverted to New York on Saturday morning as a precaution, following a minor technical issue,” a spokesperson for the airline said.
“We sent a relief aircraft out to New York on Saturday morning to get customers back to London Gatwick as quickly as possible.
“Our teams on the ground cared for customers, booked hotel rooms, blocked off our first class lounge and offered meal vouchers. The safety of our customers and crew is always our priority.”