Politics

Passengers Trapped in JetBlue Planes on the Tarmac at JFK Airport

  • Scores of JetBlue passengers on at least a dozen planes were stranded on the tarmac at JFK airport on Sunday.
  • Irate passengers took to social media to document their hours of being trapped on grounded flights.
  • Some described being stuck onboard their planes for 13 hours, with “no clarity” being given by airline staff.

Passengers flying into John F. Kennedy International Airport on JetBlue planes found themselves stranded on the airport’s tarmac on Sunday, waiting for hours before being allowed to disembark.

Signs of trouble began to brew earlier in the evening, with flight path maps showing at least a dozen JetBlue planes grounded on the tarmac at JFK. 

A screengrab of the flight path map at JFK airport and a picture of a plane wing

A screengrab of a FlightRadar flight path map showed at least a dozen JetBlue planes grounded at JFK airport. Meanwhile, passenger Levi Butcher told Insider that he saw several aircraft lining up next to the plane he was trapped in while they waited their turn to deplane at JFK.

FlightRadar; Levi butcher


Insider spoke to several passengers stuck on the planes who described being stranded on the aircraft for hours.

Musician Hannah Eggen, who said she was trapped on her plane for 13 hours, told Insider she was given multiple reasons as to why her flight was not moving nor allowing passengers to disembark. 

“They delayed the flights several different times for different reasons, then told us it was canceled with no explanation or compensation. And then they just booted us out of the terminal. There are families and elderly people here who don’t know what to do,” Eggen said.

Eggen added that she was given five different explanations by airline staff as to what was happening, including inclement weather, and the runways being slippery. 

She added that when she was finally allowed to deplane, there was still “no clarity” and “no aid” from airline staff. 

Meanwhile, Levi Butcher, a passenger on Flight B6 524 from Los Angeles to New York, told Insider he was stuck on the plane for just over an hour and a half. 

“We landed around 9.20 p.m. and taxied around for about 15 minutes and then stopped. The pilot announced that there weren’t any available gates, that it could be 45 to 60 minutes,” Butcher said.

Butcher added that while waiting on the tarmac, he saw at least three other JetBlue planes lined up near the aircraft he was in. While waiting, the passengers on Butcher’s flight were told there was no gate bridge operator available and they would have to wait for one to be freed up before getting to disembark. 

“The only explanation was that they didn’t have enough gates. The pilot remarked over the PA that they should have just held us at LAX with the idea that a gate would be available upon arrival,” Butcher told Insider. “We sat on the taxiway waiting for a gate for over an hour before we moved to the gate, where we were stuck again.” 

Also trapped at JFK was Fox 5 NYC morning anchor Bianca Peters, who posted a video on Twitter of herself inside the plane. In a separate tweet, Peters mentioned that one passenger on her flight was “having an obvious


panic attack

” after over three hours stuck on the plane. 

“Just got an update from the captain who says they are “short staffed”.. will likely be held up on this tarmac for about 3 hours. Can a girl get a refund?! Or at least some cheese & crackers,” Peters tweeted

Other passengers at JFK appeared to have been trapped for varying amounts of time. One passenger, Laura Mardkha, tweeted about being stuck on the tarmac for two and a half hours with “many screaming children” and “no timeline” on when they could disembark. Other Twitter users also posted about having their flights diverted to land in Newark, instead of JFK. 

When reached for comment, representatives from JetBlue told Insider that the heavy snowfall over the north-east slowed their operations at JFK.

“After this weekend’s heavy snow and freezing temperatures in the northeast, we are focused on safely resuming our flight schedule. We have made good progress in ramping up operations in Boston, LaGuardia and Newark,” said the JetBlue representative.

“At JFK, we started operations on Saturday as planned but faced a number of conditions that have slowed the operation down,” the JetBlue representative said, adding that the company normally takes a few days to fully recover when a storm of this size significantly impacts its two largest markets, New York and Boston. 

“We have combined some flights today to ease those constraints and are working to rebook customers,” the representative said. “We apologize to our customers for the inconvenience and we are working to get them on their way as quickly as possible.”




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