Passengers on a Delta Airlines flight headed to New York from Ghana claimed that they were starved for hours and told to “be grateful” after the plane diverted due to mechanical issues and landed on a remote island for nearly 12 hours.
Delta Flight 157 diverted to an airport on Terceira Island in the Azores on Friday out of “an abundance of caution” as the plane had begun to undergo a “mechanical issue with a backup oxygen system.”
“Delta flight 157 from Accra to New York-JFK diverted to Lajes Airport following a mechanical issue that required observation,” Delta said on Friday in a statement to Pulse. “The aircraft landed safely and an alternate aircraft is en route to Lajes Airport from Lisbon to help our customers more quickly get to their final destinations while the original aircraft is evaluated by maintenance technicians. We apologize to our customers for the delay in their travels.”
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Passengers however, took to Facebook to allege that the experience was a nightmare.
In a lengthy post, Nana Asante-Smith said that five hours into the flight, the pilot announced that the plane would be making an emergency landing due to low oxygen, with the passenger claiming that the flight attendants were “kind and gentle” and that “the unfortunate situation was not in Delta’s control.”
However, when the plane landed, Asante-Smith alleges that the airline displayed a “reckless disregard for human life and well-being. While crew members were shuttled to a hotel, passengers had to go to a portioned part of the airport and could not move around freely because they did not have the proper passport documentation or visas.
With limited access to the airport and no Delta crew, Asante-Smith claims it was hard to find food.
“After begging and pleading, we received paper bags with ham sandwiches (that many could not eat due to dietary restrictions associated with pork), juice boxes and cookies/crackers,” she wrote. “Still, no official announcements or updates from Delta as passengers scrambled to rebook connecting flights, request clarity about the situation we found ourselves in.”
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Passengers on social media said that the airport conditions were “uncomfortable” and that airport representatives told them not to start “a revolution” and “be grateful for a second chance at life.”
“We were abandoned by Delta and treated like encroaching roaches by airport representatives on Terceira Islands,” Asante-Smith wrote. “We were (and are) physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted.”
The flight eventually left and landed at JFK after 12 hours on the island.
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One passenger named Kiaundra Eggleston took to X to post video footage of the scene inside the airport, as disgruntled passengers tried to make sense of the situation and find a way out.
This female rep told us we should be grateful that they allowed us to be here and our plane didn’t crash in the sea pic.twitter.com/AwOR2jPp2I— Kiaundra Eggleston (Smith) (@KiaundraSmith) September 9, 2023
A Delta spokesperson told Insider that customers were provided with refunds, and the inability to help passengers once they arrived back in New York had to do with poor weather conditions on the East Coast.
Delta Airlines did not immediately respond to Entrepreneur‘s request for comment.
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