200 passengers stranded at SFO for second night

(KGO)
September 18, 2012 11:30:25 AM PDT
Hundreds of passengers traveling from San Francisco to Australia finally got on their way after frustrating delays that spanned two days. On Tuesday morning, United Airlines explained there were two separate mechanical problems with the two planes bound for Sydney. The original flight was supposed to leave Sunday night, but those passengers didn't take off until 9 a.m. Tuesday.

With one hour to go until takeoff, ABC7 News caught up with an Australian couple trying to get home. Tired, dirty, and frustrated, they said they spent Sunday night in a hotel with only their carry-on bags and the clothes on their back. Monday night, they slept in the airport. Some 200 other passengers were in a similar boat, desperate to get on a plane.

"They already said it was going to be delayed like around 6 p.m. last night, but they still said you had to come in even though it's a ten-hour delay. And then I've just been here an hour trying to check in," passenger Lisa Ruehlow said. In all, the flights were delayed 34 hours after Sunday night's flight was cancelled. Those passengers were booked onto Monday night's flight, which was pushed back until 9 a.m. Tuesday. "Actually, I wanted to meet with a friend in Sydney but now it's not possible. So, I will fly ten hours late," passenger Max Amann said.

"I was pretty upset, just very frustrated. I mean traveling is not fun to start with and then delays and whatever, and people are difficult to deal with. Actually, the people here were nice, but last night on the phone, not very nice," Ruehlow said. Since she lives in San Francisco, Ruehlow went home to ride out the delays.

The airline gave out hotel and food vouchers, but some passengers said it wasn't enough. They said it was a hassle to get their checked luggage back and they had to pay to take a shuttle to the hotel. The flight left shortly after 9:00 a.m. Tuesday. United says that was to accommodate passengers who retrieved their checked bags Monday night to give them time to re-check those bags.


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