American Airlines Apologizes For Weather-Delayed Flight

Passengers waited nine hours for 30-minute trip

American Airlines has apologized after it took more than nine hours for passengers at DFW International Airport to take off on a 30-minute flight to Oklahoma City during Friday’s snow storm.

“It was chaos in Dallas,” said passenger Brandon Sullivan of Oklahoma City.

He said some passengers on Flight 382 shouted obscenities and kicked seats out of frustration.

"We boarded the flight at about one-o’clock,” Sullivan said in a Skype interview.

He tweeted a photo with the comment, "Snow slowing things down.”

Nobody had no idea how slow.

"We were told numerous times, ‘15 more minutes,’” he said. “’15 more minutes. 15 more minutes.’"

Minutes stretched to hours.

"After about four and-a-half or five hours, the pilot comes on and says, 'We have approval to go,’" Sullivan said.

But after more time for de-icing, the passengers were in for another surprise.

"We are starting to speed down the runway and, not thinking anything of it, all the sudden the plane started slowing down and you could hear all the sighs on the plane,” he said. “We knew something was wrong."

Sullivan said the pilot blamed a mechanical failure and told passengers they had to head back to the gate.

But the gates were full.

"Nobody knows what to say at this point,” he said. “Everybody is really frustrated. This is when there starts to be verbal arguments between people who have been cooped up for so long. People are shoving each other, people kicking the backs of seats."

He snapped a picture of passengers raiding the liquor.

Then, there was yet another delay.

The crew had already worked too many hours.

"The crew was nowhere to be found,” he said. “They were in the middle of a crew change. It got really hectic about eight hours in."

In 2010, the airport spent $700,000 on a bus to pick up passengers stranded on the tarmac and bring them back to the terminal.

But in this case, the bus wasn't needed because the plane was already at the gate -- parked -- for much of the time.

For the same reason, the delay apparently didn't violate federal rules, which limit tarmac delays to three hours.

Sullivan said passengers were offered a chance to get off the plane after three hours to walk around the terminal.

He said some passengers got off but quickly re-boarded out of fear the plane would take off without them and they would be separated from their luggage.

“Above all else, we apologize for the frustrating experience,” an American Airlines spokesman said. “The safety of our passengers and employees is always our top priority. Friday was a challenging day at DFW.”

Finally, more than nine hours in, the plane took off and arrived in Oklahoma City about 30 minutes later.

"As we finally took off, there was a lot of applause from everyone,” Robinson said.

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