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Southwest Airlines Flight Became Three-Day Ordeal

A flight home from the Dominican Republic turned into a three-day nightmare for passengers

Southwest Airlines apologized Wednesday after a flight to Atlanta from the Dominican Republic turned into a three-day ordeal for passengers.

The flight from Punta Cana Sunday was canceled because of a mechanical issue, the airline said.

Passengers, including several workers at a Plano dentist’s office, said they waited on the Tarmac on a hot plane for 90 minutes.

The airline arranged for a hotel so passengers could spend the night.

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"We said, 'OK great, they are going to put us up,’” said Jo Puckett, of McKinney.

“It wasn't so great after that,” added her co-worker, Denise Blasz, of Parker.

They said the hotel was filthy and infested with roaches.

"It was very, very dirty. There was stuff on the walls, bugs in the sheets, hair in the sheets,” Blasz said.

They ended up moving to another hotel at their own expense.

On Monday, they headed back to the airport, ready to finally come home – or so they thought.

"So they board us but the minute we got on we knew something was wrong because it was hot on the plane,” Puckett said. “I mean it was hot."

Passengers complained about their ordeal on a Facebook page they created, called "Stranded in Punta Cana."

"Hello you guys, this is Day Two, traveling Southwest to Atlanta, and this is the flight,” one woman said in a video. “It's hot. We've been on here for an hour.”

Then, the captain announced the plane had another mechanical issue.

Passengers said they waited for two hours and ran out of ice and water before that flight also was canceled.

They spent another night in Punta Cana and returned to the airport for a third day.

There was yet another delay.

The crew couldn’t fly because they had already flown the maximum number of hours allowed.

It took a few more hours for the airline to bring in another crew.

Finally, they were off.

"People clapped when it took off," Puckett said.

She added it never felt so good to get back home.

“I hugged my boss,” she said. “I'm like, 'I've never been so happy to be at work.'"

Southwest said it is giving the passengers $400 in vouchers for future tickets and refunding the cost of their one-way trip home.

But the airline will not pay other expenses, including food, taxis and hotels the passengers booked themselves.

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