- The Washington Times
Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Passengers on an American Airlines flight were left in tears after being stranded in two different planes without air conditioning for six hours on the tarmac in Charlotte, North Carolina.

American Airlines flight 327 from Charlotte to New York began its delay Sunday due to issues with a fuel tank. Crews labored for hours to fix the problem, but ultimately passengers were forced to deplane and board another plane.

Flight passenger and Charlotte Observer reporter Genna Contino tweeted that she had “just sat on a plane with limited air conditioning for three hours while they were fixing the fuel tank, turns out they can’t fix it and now we’re switching planes.”

An American Airlines spokesperson explained to Fox News that “Shortly before 3:50 p.m., customers were asked to deplane and were transferred to another aircraft, which began boarding around 4:30 p.m. ET.”

The second plane, however, was also delayed thanks to hot, stormy weather in Charlotte. An airline spokesperson told Fox News that the plane was delayed due to “lightning in the vicinity.”

Passengers were stuck on the second aircraft, initially with no air conditioning.

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Ms. Contino explained in a reply on Twitter that they “turned it OFF to save fuel until people started sobbing and having panic attacks.”

American Airlines spokesman Andrew Trull told the Charlotte Observer that a preconditioned air hose was likely attached to the plane and pumping cooler air from the jet bridge onto the craft. However, Mr. Trull could not confirm that the hose was fully connected, only that a piece to hook up the hose to the plane was available.

By the end of the delay, the air conditioning was limited, no food or drink had been served, and passengers were miserable.

American Airlines disputed that passengers were stuck on the plane with no recourse. Mr. Trull told the Observer, “Passengers did have the opportunity to get off the plane due to it still being at the gate and its fourth boarding door remaining open.”

Mr. Trull also said if the plane had been off the gate, food and drink would have been served.

The lightning delay finally ended at nearly 6 p.m., and the plane landed in New York at 7:03 p.m, five hours and 56 minutes behind schedule.

• Brad Matthews can be reached at bmatthews@washingtontimes.com.

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