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.”