Virgin Atlantic flight to JFK becomes a 27-hour ordeal

August 19, 2013 2:34:41 PM PDT
It was a travel nightmare for hundreds of passengers. They are finally home after their flight from London to New York was forced to make an emergency landing in a remote corner of Canada. There were no hotels available, so passengers had to camp overnight in a tiny airport while the airline tried to figure out how to get them all home.

For the 250 passengers an 8 hour flight became a 27 hour nightmare.

"We're really just really thankful to be in New York," passenger Maya Torayn said.

Virgin Atlantic's flight V-S-25 took off from London's Heathrow Airport on Saturday. It was set to arrive at JFK airport just before midnight on Saturday until the pilots reported a problem.

Tower: Virgin 25, I need to know the nature of your emergency.
Virgina Atlantic Pilot: Yes, we have a fuel leak, suspected fuel leak.

The pilots tried to figure out what was wrong while still in the air.

Tower: I understand you shut down an engine is that confirmed?
Pilot: We temporarily got our number 2 engine on the right side wing shut down to try and establish the cause of the leak.

That didn't work, so they made an emergency landing in Newfoundland.

Everyone was safe, but the passengers were stuck with a broken plane and no hotels. With no place to go, the airport became a makeshift campsite.

"People were sleeping on the floor of the bathroom and on the counters in the bathroom, all over the floor in the airport," passenger Anna Ninan said.

As the hours dragged on, frustrated passengers took to Twitter.

Matt Roberts wrote to virgin, "Patience wore out 10 hrs ago. Please get your stories straight."

Another tweeted, "been sitting on linoleum floor in Gandy for hours now and plane hasn't left London. Where are our hotel rooms? Unacceptable"

Virgin tweeted too, " full."

"I had never experienced anything like that, so that was quite an ordeal for me and my parents, who were a little worried," passenger Maya Torayn said.

That ordeal for passengers finally ended when a two hour flight on a replacement plane delivered them to JFK Airport on Sunday night at 7, nearly a full day late.

Virgin is offering a free round trip ticket to passengers and offered an apology for "any inconvenience caused."