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Wednesday 4 October 2023 Dublin: 12°C
Niall Carson/PA Wire Over 300 passengers were stuck on board the Boeing 767 until US Airways eventually cancelled the flight and allowed them off.
# Travel Nightmare
300 passengers stuck on board cancelled flight for seven hours
The US Airways flight from Dublin to Philadelphia was ultimately cancelled… leaving passengers on board, and in the dark, for hours.

AROUND 300 PASSENGERS spent most of their Christmas Eve stranded inside a plane yesterday, when a scheduled transatlantic flight was continually delayed and ultimately cancelled, while passengers were given no details about takeoff.

The US Airways flight 723 from Dublin to Philadelphia had been due to take off at 11:05am, and had boarded at about 1 – but passengers were left mystified when the plane never set about taking off, with the departure apparently continually delayed.

The 300-or-so passengers on board – including several young children – were not informed of the cause for their delay, and were kept on board with no food until the flight was ultimately cancelled at 8pm, when passengers were finally allowed to disembark the Boeing 767.

US Airways said that the delay on the flight was due to a shortage of de-icing fluid on the part of the airline’s ground handler, which forced the flight to be continually delayed until it was cancelled outright.

A separate US Airways flight on the same route, scheduled to leave at 2pm, ultimately took off at 4:17am and landed in Philadelphia International five hours behind schedule.

Update, 12:13pm: Reader Stephen McG, who was on the plane, writes (via our comments section):

We were told around 2:30-3pm that we were awaiting de-icing by a 3rd party company (ServisAir) that was out of US Airways control. Eventually the de-icer showed up. At around 4pm we were told the flight was cancelled as the runway/airport had been closed (due to a small plane turning onto the main runway I believe)

About 30 minutes later we were told we were being made an exception and would, in fact, be taking off. The crew gave us sandwiches – there was lunch on board.

At around 5:15pm we were told that the flight was cancelled because the flight crew had exceeded the number of hours (or would including the flight time) that they are legally allowed work by the FAA (14-16hours?)

Then – and this is what had most of the passengers so angry – it took nearly three hours to get the gate door open. We were sitting at the gate, not on the tarmac. The pilot called the Gardai to get the DAA and Airport police to get someone to open the door. 3 hours to open gate 418 in T2 – where there are practically more staff than passengers!! [...]

Its worth noting that this was the second attempt by many of the passengers to get out. Some had spent 5 hours on a plane on tarmac on Thursday. Also a replacement flight for those passengers was put on at 2:30pm and did take off and get to Philadelphia on Friday eventually. They had opted to take the earlier scheduled flight at 11.05am.