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Lufthansa plane stuck six hours on JFK tarmac

The Local · 30 Dec 2010, 11:01

Published: 30 Dec 2010 11:01 GMT+01:00

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The flight was one of the first from Germany after a powerful snowstorm hit the northeastern United States, news channel CNN reported late Wednesday.

But after making it across the Atlantic, the Lufthansa plane – along with several other flights from Europe – was forced to wait on the runway until there was a gate available.

As frustrating as it must have been for the Lufthansa passengers to find themselves stranded on the tarmac nearly as long as they were as in the air, travellers on a Korean Air flight from Seoul had the most horrific wait at JFK.

After flying some 15 hours from Asia, the plane was stuck on the runway for a mind-boggling nine hours.

"We did contact the airlines and have been telling them they must not leave their point of origin without being assured of a gate," Port Authority spokesman Steve Coleman told CNN. "Apparently, it didn't help."

Unlucky holiday travellers have been plagued by weather delays and cancellations on both sides of the Atlantic.

Story continues below…

Only days before the latest blizzard hit the US East Coast, airports across Europe had to contend with wintry conditions shutting down air traffic. Germany’s largest air hub in Frankfurt wasn’t spared the travel chaos, and thousands of passengers were forced to sleep in the airport for days.

The Local/mry

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

13:56 December 30, 2010 by storymann
I hate those cramped seats in Economy after 8 hours I have had more than enough,,but to be on the run way and not to be able to get to the gate for another 6 hours would be the mother of all nightmares.
14:10 December 30, 2010 by marimay
You sit on the plane for at least an hour after landing at JFK anyway. I hate that airport.
19:07 December 30, 2010 by Swag2TZ
Complete & Utter Bullshit. The pilot should of contacted JFK Tower before landing (one hour out), ask for a update, and if no gate available, proceed to a alternate airport. That my friend, would be better than 6 hours sitting on the plane. JFK is a suck hole airport. I spent a night in the terminal because my flight got canceled cause it was too windy to take off. (Thanks Delta) While the United flight takes off far SFO at the next gate. Mist fee
03:38 December 31, 2010 by wood artist
Last year, during the great Volcano Fiasco, I got a on Lufthansa flight in Frankfurt, and we had to sit for a bit more than an hour before we could leave...due to traffic restrictions in the allowed corridor. I must say that Lufthansa did everything possible to keep us happy.

They left the doors open, plied us with beverages, and generally remained as pleasant as possible. The pilot kept us informed, and the time passed quickly. That, of course, is nothing like 6 hours at the end of a flight, but I think the airline and its people did everything they could do. Compared to other carriers, Lufthansa seems to provide the best service I see, and I'll choose them over the competition whenever I can, which includes the tickets I'll buy tonight.

05:32 December 31, 2010 by Christine1
Re Swag: From what I have read, there really wasn't a good alternate airport available, as the airports all along the East Coast, and as far west as Chicago were all experiencing problems with either the devastation from the blizzard, or the domino effects of cancelled flights.
05:03 January 2, 2011 by proclusian
"We did contact the airlines and have been telling them they must not leave their point of origin without being assured of a gate," Port Authority spokesman Steve Coleman told CNN. "Apparently, it didn't help."

Port Authority is running the show. That should tell you all you need to know.

There is absolutely no reason that one of the gates (of appropriate size) could not have been cleared. Most of the planes resting at their gates weren't about to go anywhere anyway. Port Authority were just being jerks. They should be sued in a class-action suit by the passengers of that plane for not clearing a gate.
04:48 January 4, 2011 by DOZ
Is Canada and Russia the only Countries that can keep planes flying in the Winter. I guess that settles it. If the U.S.A.R. is ever to be attacked and Occupied, then it has to be done in the Winter.
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