Snowfall strands passengers for hours at Philadelphia International Airport


In addition to the usual weather-related delays and cancellations, there was at least one extreme case: passengers delayed on a plane for 7 hours.

It happened when airport officials say the blast of snow caused dangerously icy conditions on the runways, forcing a ground stop.

That meant some airborne passengers had to circle the airport for up to two hours before landing.

Others say they were stuck on planes on the ground.

Passengers on US Airways Flight 1777 to Seattle actually left their gate on time at 5:55 p.m., but they didn't get far.

The plane returned to the gate at 6:45 p.m. A US Airways spokesperson says the cabin door was opened, and passengers were given the option to get off the plane.

This was repeated at about 8:30 p.m. and again at 11:00 p.m. before the flight was ultimately cancelled at 1:30 a.m.

US Airways says the door was opened each time and no policies were violated.

"We were at the airport for 7 hours," said passenger Keith Monosky. "We never got off the plane. We waited and waited and waited, and there were other planes coming in and leaving after us. But yet for some reason we were never able to de-ice to leave."

Passengers said Flight 1777 ended up being cancelled because if it had been allowed to take off the crew would have been on the plane too long by the time it landed in Seattle.

Passenger Richard Spielvogel was on another flight stranded on the tarmac.

"We arrived only a few minutes late but sat on the runway waiting to get into the gate for about an hour and a half," he said.

A PHL spokesperson said they tried to make travelers as comfortable as possible, adding that certain procedures need to be followed in the snow: runways needed to be plowed and planes de-iced.

With no place to go, some travelers curled up and got some sleep. They re-booked for future flights. While many expressed frustration, others say there is not much you can do but go with the flow.

As for the passengers who were stuck on that plane to Seattle, they tell Action News they were not given lodging overnight because this was a weather event. They were re-booked for a flight Monday afternoon that connects in another city - and do not expect to arrive in Seattle until late Monday night.

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