United does it again – and this time the passengers wish they had a barracks!

A disruptive passenger – in that he was going to the loo repeatedly and kept changing his shirt, so worried the Air Marshall that it was decided that United’s Rome to Chicago should turn back and land at Belfast.

Refuelling then lead to the pilots going 2 minutes over their duty time and so passengers were off loaded. There were insufficient hotel rooms for the 269 passengers and so they were left in the airport. The food outlet, where United had kindly provided them with $23 of food vouchers (later increased to $70) to spend there.

There are distressing pictures of young children sleeping near to what appears to be the luggage belt in this NBC story.

United, well their reaction was a little less ‘blame the passengers’ than last week:

A United Airlines spokesman said: “United Flight 971, from Rome to Chicago, diverted to Belfast because of a disruptive passenger. Law enforcement met the aircraft and the passenger was removed.

“The crew then reached its maximum duty time, leading to the cancellation of the flight. We understand the inconvenience this causes our passengers and will accommodate them on a flight from Belfast to Chicago today at 4 p.m. local time.”


  1. United is a f*’ing train wreck.

    Totally understand the diversion, but seriously 4pm the next day?? United had a 21:25 EDT flight to Belfast that arrived at 9:01am, they could have bumped some passengers, I’m sure people would have taken a bump or a proactive re-route, they had 6-8 hours to be proactive, get a flight crew over from EWR, (or from ORD/IAD via EWR) arrive at 9:01am and get these people home on a 12pm departure, to make them wait until 4pm and they will miss more connections once arriving, is just absolutely unacceptable. These people do not know service or service recovery.

    I switched to AA 2 years ago, hit my 2MM on UA in February (yes flew 100K in 45 days before the Mar 1 change) and have flown 28 BA segments this year so far, 1 segment has been delayed 25m. On united, I flew 22 segments, 5 of them had significant delays and one had a delay of 10 hours and 1 flight I was IDB’d from (which UA had to pay me $1300). Gong-show Airline

  2. Since they were only 2 minutes over duty time couldn’t they have flew to EWR or IAD and then people could connect to their final destination? Or even have a new crew fly the EWR/IAD to ORD segment? I feel like getting people to a UA hub on the East coast would make it easier for a majority of the plane to actually get home that day.

  3. Also note the FCO flight left 2h48m from Rome itself, so they were already enduring a delay.

  4. Gets even worse, they told these people 1pm when they reschedule it and now it is delayed 4h30m for operations:

    United Flight 2107
    Status: Delayed due to operational difficulties (Estimated Departure 4 Hours 30 Minutes Late)
    City: Belfast, Northern Ireland (BFS)
    Check-in Terminal:
    Scheduled Time: 1:00 p.m.
    Scheduled Date: Sun., Jun. 21, 2015
    Estimated Time: 5:30 p.m.
    Estimated Date: Sun., Jun. 21, 2015

    City: Chicago, IL (ORD – O’Hare)
    Gate: INTL
    Terminal: Terminal 5
    Scheduled Time: 2:42 p.m.
    Scheduled Date: Sun., Jun. 21, 2015
    Estimated Time: 7:20 p.m.
    Estimated Date: Sun., Jun. 21, 2015

  5. Scott, you are absolutely “spot on” w/ respect to the AirSmisek train wreck. Its not the Gong show IMHO, because that show at least had some humor. Like you, I hit my 2MM level last January. My YTD experiences are similar, and I now go entirely out of my way not to fly them. I believe the crew could’ve “waived” the 2 minutes. But, I suspect they intentionally caused it for the extra pay. I’m sure the crew got hotel rooms while the full fare UnitedF customers got a floor with their 25k mileage credit….

  6. The ‘Venna’ Instagram passenger was in Business Class and ended up on the floor.

    While it’s very disappointing United couldn’t secure hotel rooms…it’s baffling that these business class passengers with wireless data access couldn’t find a hotel room on their own.

    Was there an immigration issue where no officers could let them out of baggage claim?

    Something is missing here.

    I would have quickly found a place to stay, even 30 miles away and at least attempted to bill it back.

  7. @Dave crew could not waive 2 minutes, because of FAA time-out in this case, remember original flight took off almost 3 hours late so they used up a lot of crew time there.

    I don’t know of this happened, but if I was the single UA airport manager they probably have, I would have gotten there and spent the night with the passengers made sure they had what they needed and made sure I had my updates for them and told UA they could give me an extra Holiday day later.

    Again they do not understand customer service.

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