A passenger who was onboard United Airlines flight UA 40 on July 3, 2023 is boldly refuting the airline’s statement regarding the flight that ended up as a seven-hour ordeal.
Passengers who were booked on a United Airlines flight to Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport (FCO) from Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) on July 3, 2023 have taken to social media to complain about an uncomfortable seven-hour delay that ended up with cancellation of the flight.
The passengers claimed that the airline left them ‘stuck’ for seven hours inside the Boeing 787 aircraft without any water or food.
The aircraft’s air conditioning did not function either, so temperatures reached up to 27 degrees Celsius, which led to some passengers having panic attacks and experiencing dehydration.
To make things worse, the flight was ultimately canceled at 2AM on July 4, 2023.
United Airlines statement
The airline acknowledged the incident and gave the following statement to US media:
“On July 3, United flight 40 returned to the gate at Newark Liberty to address a temperature issue. Once there, we offered customers the opportunity to deplane and later provided snacks and beverages,” the statement said.
“Our crew eventually exceeded their legally permitted duty hours and we had to cancel the flight. We regret we couldn’t provide our customers a better travel experience and offered compensation in the hopes of having an opportunity to welcome them back.”
What really happened?
One of the passengers onboard, who was traveling with his family, took to social media platform TikTok to refute the airline’s statement, and explain what he insists really happened.
The passenger, who goes by ‘Jack’ on social media, maintained that they were indeed ‘trapped’ inside the aircraft for seven hours without food or water.
He said that despite United claiming that their flights would be rebooked, they were not. According to him, the return flights were also eventually canceled by United.
So Jack and his family ended up making their own travel arrangements, first traveling from EWR Airport to New York’s John F Kennedy Airport (JFK). From there, they caught a flight to Rome with Egypt Air, a “much more reliable airline’, according to Jack.
Jack’s family ended up spending an extra $4,000 for the expenses, which they asked United to reimburse.
United sent them a reply saying, “We don’t reimburse for pre-arranged expenses such as hotel accommodation at your destination, special events, ground transportation, inconvenience or loss of time.”
The airline offered them instead a $400 electronic voucher for use towards a future flight with United, something that Jack says he will never be doing again.
Jack called United Airlines’ statement “pathetic”, offering a point-by-point rebuttal.
United claims that UA 40 returned to the gate at EWR following a temperature issue. Jack said that this is false, as the aircraft did not return to the gate but instead stayed on the tarmac for seven hours, with passengers getting updates every 45 minutes. Jack said they only got back to the gate after four hours.
United claims that, once the passengers were back at the gate, they were offered snacks and beverages. Jack said this is “partially false and a straight up lie.” He insists that they were only at the gate for 20 minutes and were encouraged to stay inside the plane because it could be leaving soon, and that only three people actually left the aircraft.
Jack said that the aircraft returned to the tarmac, where they stayed an additional hour before United finally announced the flight cancellation. He said that it took two more hours to return to the gate again.
Jack reiterated that, during those seven hours of delays, there had been no offer of food or beverages. Jack claimed that the only reason passengers received water was that he went to the back of the aircraft himself and “stole” some water bottles, passing them around to fellow passengers.
According to Jack, the flight attendant simply sat at the back of the plane “on her phone” while he did so.
Finally, Jack also refuted United’s statement of offering passengers compensation “in the hopes of having an opportunity to welcome them back.” Jack said that $400 does not cover the $4,000 he and his family spent because of the delay and cancellation.
Jack concluded that United’s offer is disappointing, considering that the airline raked in almost $45 billion in revenue the previous year.