American Airlines plane delay CLT to JFK, no air conditioning

American Airline passengers flying from Charlotte to New York spent the majority of a nearly six-hour delay sitting on hot planes Sunday afternoon due to maintenance issues and a weather delay, the airline said.

Flight 327 to John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens, NY was delayed at a Charlotte-Douglas International Airport gate so issues with the plane could be repaired, American Airlines spokesman Andrew Trull told The Charlotte Observer.

The flight began boarding at 1:40 pm, but passengers were told to deplane at 3:50 pm, Trull said. The passengers boarded onto another aircraft at 4:30 pm and left for JFK at 7:30 pm, he said.

Scattered thunderstorms and rain touched down in Charlotte on Sunday evening, according to The Weather Channel.

“While certainly an unfortunate delay, it is something we apologize to our customers for with the combination of maintenance and weather,” Trull said.

During the extended delay, a passenger had a “mental breakdown” and others complained of the lack of air conditioning and food and beverage services, according to a tweet from Genna Contino, an Observer reporter who was aboard the plane. The initial delay was caused by a fuel tank issue, the tweet said.

Passengers did have the opportunity to get off the plane due to it still being at the gate and its fourth boarding door remaining open through the delays, Trull said. If the door was closed and the plane was off the gate, then a snack would have been provided “after a period of time,” he said.

The heat could be attributed to it being a “hot day,” but a preconditioned air hose was likely attached to the aircraft and pumping cool air from the jet bridge aboard the plane, Trull said. He did not say if the hose was connected, but confirmed that a piece to hook it up with was available.

Contino shared on Twitter Sunday night that the plane’s air source appeared to be off or low because “They turned it OFF to save fuel until people started sobbing and having panic attacks.”

If there is a delay either on the departure or arrival for domestic flights, there has to be an opportunity to deplane within three hours of the door closing or arrival into a city, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. For international flights, it’s four hours, the agency said.

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Jonathan Limehouse is a breaking news reporter and covers all major happenings in the Charlotte area. He has covered a litany of other beats from public safety, education, public health and sports. He is a proud UNC Charlotte graduate and a Raleigh native.

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