OAKLAND (CBS SF) — There’s finally some clarity from the Aeromexico fiasco at Oakland International Airport which had passengers stuck on a stifling plane for more than four hours before being let off.
Late Friday evening, an Oakland International Airport spokeswoman says the pilot waited too long to request to deplane passengers who were stuck in the plane for hours.
Flight 662 flew in from Guadalajara headed to San Francisco International Airport. Thick fog at SFO led the plane to be diverted to Oakland International Airport.
Oakland airport spokeswoman Keonnis Taylor said the pilot did not want to let passengers get off when the plane landed at around 10:45 a.m. Thursday. Taylor said the pilot wanted to wait for the fog at SFO to clear out so he could fly to their original destination.
Taylor says the pilot finally gave in and asked the airport to allow passengers to deplane around 2 p.m. She says U.S. Customs and Border Protection approved the request about 30 minutes later. By then, it was too late; the passengers where in an uproar and conditions were getting deteriorating.
Passenger Erin Morgan and her husband, Jaime Quirarte, said it was hot and sweaty. People felt sick and they, too, were feeling weak.
“It was hard to breathe. But also we were feeling really, really weak,” said Quirarte, who was flying home to San Francisco.
They said the pilot and flight crew didn’t try to make the situation easier.
“If you wanted a snack, you could go to the back of the plane and ask for like a little thing of peanuts,” said Morgan. But you really had to advocate for yourself. No one was providing any service. No one was offering anything.”
Morgan and Quirarte said the crew also came across as being impatient and rude.
“The pilot, completely incompetent,” said Quirarte.
Morgan also cited the pilot’s attitude. “His tone was ‘I’ve already told you this four times, I’m not going to say it again. No one is getting off the plane, no one is getting on the plane.’”
Alameda County Sheriff’s deputies arrested two passengers after they threatened to open the emergency exit. Those men were later released.
KPIX 5 has been reaching out to officials with Aeromexico. So far, they have not responded back to our requests for comment.
Expanded passenger protection rules last year include a four-hour time limit on tarmac delays for international flights of U.S. and foreign airlines. Carriers also must ensure passengers stuck on the tarmac are provided adequate food and water after two hours, as well as working lavatories and any necessary medical treatment.