United Apologizes to Passengers Put Up in Military Barracks
United Airlines has apologized to the almost 200 passengers who were forced to stay in a Canadian military barracks after a flight from Chicago to London was forced to land due to a maintenance issue last week.
"We apologize to our customers for the disruption, and we recognize this was a considerable inconvenience, so we will be refunding their tickets to London and providing additional compensation," a United spokesperson told The Huffington Post.
Passengers on United Airlines Flight 958 left Chicago Friday night but were forced to land in Goose Bay, Canada, home to an active military barracks. There, almost 200 flyers waited for bed assignments, then received little in the way of bedding in near-freezing temperatures, according to ABC News. The crew checked into a local hotel; in a tweet, since deleted, United said it was because the crew needed to rest to properly rest for the continuation of the flight while passengers could rest on the plane knowing they were in good hands.
Unfortunately, passengers were assigned barracks rooms that did not have heat. United Airlines spokesperson Hallie Eisenpress said in a statement, "hotel space was not available, so we accommodated our customers at a local military base and provided meals."
Nearly a full day later, after a flight to Newark, passengers boarded a second flight to London, arriving more than 30 hours after they originally took off from Chicago.
The incident touched off a social media storm but Jamie Snook, mayor of Happy Valley-Goose Bay, took umbrage at that, telling CBC Radio that it could have been worse.
“The accommodations they received were standard military barracks that our Canadian forces use regularly," Snook said. "Our allied training partners throughout Europe used them regularly … they're pretty standard. A little on the basic side. They're not five-star, but considering the alternatives where someone could've slept that night – in a terminal or whatnot – I would've been quite content."
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