Napa, CA – June 4, 2009: Delta flight 510 from Turks and Caicos bound
for Atlanta on April 10th, 2009 started out like any other flight for
vacationing tourists who had spent a week in the sunny Caribbean
paradise. The passengers, spring breakers, families, and retirees were
tired and a little depressed that their vacations were over, but they
had no idea how their vacation would end.

The flight was scheduled to land at Hartsfield International Airport in
Atlanta at 5:04 pm, but the plane circled for a while due to
thunderstorms below, and was ultimately diverted to Columbia, S.C.
Metropolitan Airport where it landed at 5:44 pm. And there they sat,
and sat, and sat. Five and a half hours later they were finally
permitted to get off the plane – not into the terminal, but into a
cold, stark room with about 20 folding chairs.

The "Cell"

Over 120 passengers, US citizens guarded by armed security personnel
and police, and nowhere for men, women and children to sit but a cold,
concrete floor. “One elderly woman had to be removed from our “cell” by
paramedics,” said one passenger. Listen here: Hotline Call

U.S. citizens, stuck for six hours on the tarmac, then thrown into a
concrete cell for hours and treated like criminals in their own country.

Some eleven hours after they boarded the plane in Turks and Caicos, the
criminals were moved to the terminal area that was wrapped in police
tape, and finally given the chance to purchase food. One family’s
bill came to Check Please!$63.85 for seven scrumptious airport hamburgers!

And a couple of hours later Delta bought them pizzas!

Pizza

Congress is currently considering a new FAA Reauthorization bill that
several consumer groups have urged that passengers’ rights legislation
be included that define specific limits for tarmac delays, and that
would require airlines and airports to develop contingency plans for
such emergencies.

This stranding event is outrageous. Here again we have senior citizens
and children trapped without food and water. And neither the airport
nor the airline had a plan, despite Delta’s voluntary “commitments” to
deal effectively with these tarmac strandings.

FlyersRights.org has 25,000 members and is the largest non-profit
airline passengers rights coalition in the U.S. The organization
operates a toll-free hotline 1-877-359-3776 to assist stranded airline
passengers. Please contact Kate Hanni at 707-337-0328 or or
Kate@flyersrights.com.