The Los Angeles to JFK flight was diverted to Stewart Airport in Orange County due to Saturday's nor'easter, and that's where passengers sat stranded for four-and-a-half hours.
"The problem started when the Stewart International Supervisor came on board and told the captain and the flight attendants that no one's getting off this plane," Martin said.
But some passengers did exit the plane. In a statement, the Port Authority said, "Port Authority Operations at Stewart Airport offered assistance directly to the pilot and crew and made all resources available to aid the delayed passengers."
Furthermore, we were told the pilot refused the staff's plea to leave the tarmac and pull up to a gate so passengers could come inside the terminal.
Virgin America, meantime, issued its own statement and accepted blame for what happened:
"We wish to further apologize for our handling of the delay. We pride ourselves on putting the well-being of our travelers first and making sure that, in stressful situations, we put our guests at ease. We clearly failed this on your flight."
"Dancing With the Stars" judge Carrie Ann Inaba was among the passengers on the flight. Along with the apology, Virgin America offered the passengers a full refund.
The US Department of Transportation now wants more information from Virgin America as to why passengers were left stranded on the tarmac for so long.
That's because a new rule, which takes effect at the end of April, orders U.S. airlines to allow passengers off the plane after a wait of three hours.