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United passengers upset after waiting nearly 3 hours on tarmac at DIA

Posted at 10:55 AM, Jan 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-09 13:09:55-05

DENVER — United Airlines passengers are upset after a Thursday flight to Denver International Airport turned into a nearly three-hour wait on the tarmac.

Passengers onboard United Flight 2412 that landed at DIA Thursday lost their patience as their plane sat on the tarmac for two hours and 45 minutes waiting for a gate.

“Right as we touched down on the tarmac, the captain came over the announcement and said that we would not be deplaning for 30 minutes to an hour,” United passenger Antionette Garcia said. “He comes back after an hour had lapsed and said, ‘we still don't have a bay for us to pull into.’”

Garcia said her flight was not the only one waiting for a gate that night. The captain told passengers that there were at least 20 other aircraft in the same position.

She said once they deplaned, the situation inside the airport wasn’t much better.

“There were thousands of people sitting on the floor, sitting in seats, waiting around trying to figure out how they were going to get their flights because all of the flights have been canceled at this point,” Garcia said.

United Airlines is blaming a spike in omicron cases for the disruption. In a statement to Denver7, the airline said cases have impacted ground operations at DIA.

“The nationwide spike in Omicron cases has had a direct impact on our operations, including the vendors responsible for refueling our aircraft at Denver International Airport. We’re sorry for the disruption and are working hard to get our customers on their way,” the statement read.

However, the captain of Flight 2412 told his passengers a different story. The captain said ground crews walked off the job amid a contract dispute.

“He said, ‘Look, I'm going to be honest with you at this point. United is having contract disputes with the fueling employees, and they walked off the job tonight,’” Garcia said.

United Airlines was fined $1.9 million last year by the Federal Aviation Administration for lengthy tarmac delays for 20 domestic flights and 5 international flights at various airports throughout the United States.

Disruptions at DIA have continued to cause delays and cancelations throughout the nation. On Saturday, there were 249 canceled flights and 252 delays reported out of DIA. And the airport led the country in the number of canceled flights on Sunday, according to FlightAware.