If you fly often, this may be in your top five nightmares: A flight making a rocky landing close to, but not quite at, your destination, and you’re barred from leaving. It happened to a flight from Cancun, Mexico to New York last week, but there’s a very good reason why passengers weren’t allow to disembark.
Flight B61852 was heading to New York from Cancun on April 7 when it ran into some bad wind. The plan made four attempts to land before it was diverted to Newark Liberty International Airport. Four attempts to land in rough weather sounds terrifying, and I certainly don’t blame the passengers for being done with sitting on the plane, especially after their three-hour flight eventually stretched into seven hours, according to Simply Flying.
Several passengers came forward and begged the flight crew to allow them to disembark at Newark. The airport is just as accessible for New Yorkers as JFK, after all. Being so close to home and so scared of going back up in the air caused several passengers to confront flight attendants.
“My kids are panicking. People are sick back there, we’ve got to get off this plane. It’s dangerous!” one passenger was recorded telling flight attendants. The man said he was ready to go to jail if need be. After his plea, many of the passengers on the flight can be heard clapping.
Flight attendants don’t get to make these kinds of decisions, however. And even if they could, these international passengers couldn’t disembark at Newark anyway as the airport is not equipped with customs agents. JetBlue issued a statement about the flight to SimplyFlying:
“The safety of our customers and crew members is our first priority, and our pilots are well-trained to manage severe weather. On April 7, flight 1852 with service from Cancun to JFK diverted to Newark due to severe weather over JFK,” a JetBlue spokesperson said.
“The aircraft remained on the ground for 60 minutes, and once it was safe to do so, departed again for JFK, where it landed, and customers on this international flight could properly clear US Customs and Immigration. No injuries were reported, and we apologize for the inconvenience this weather-related diversion created.”
The plane eventually landed at JFK without incident. This whole thing must have made that final walk past the flight attendants pretty awkward. Passengers earned a $50 voucher for their next JetBlue flight for their troubles.