Delta Flight From Dominican Republic to NYC Takes 30 Hours Over Bad Weather, Diversions

February 18, 2016 12:06 pm Last Updated: February 18, 2016 1:13 pm

It was only supposed to take four hours.

But more than a day later, weary passengers finally walked off a plane and into John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City.

Delta Flight 944 left Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic on Monday at 2:15 p.m. EST, but due to multiple flight diversions caused by bad weather, it took 30 hours.

NBC New York reported that the plane was circling around JFK Airport at around 6 p.m. EST on Monday, but it couldn’t land due to heavy plane traffic on the ground caused by bad weather. The plane was also running out of fuel, and it had to been sent to Manchester, New Hampshire, where it landed at 7 p.m. EST.

On social media, passengers commented on the diversion.

After the plane was refueled, there were even more problems. The Manchester-Boston Regional Airport doesn’t process international flights, and it didn’t have customs agents on hand. As a result, the plane’s passengers were forced to wait on the plane while agents drove from Maine’s Portland International Jetport, 95 miles away, to check them. The passengers were sent to local hotels for overnight stays, WPIX reported.

On Tuesday morning, the plane was again diverted over turbulence.

There were a lot of people getting sick, several people needed oxygen.
— Maribel Reyes, passenger
,” Maribel Reyes, a passenger, told NBC News. “It was really bad, I never experienced turbulence like that. I thought the plane was going to break in half. The pilot described it as a blender.”

According to the Washington Post, Delta spokesman Michael Thomas confirmed the diversions:

Delta flight 944 from Punta Cana was unable to land at JFK due to runway conditions and inclement weather in the New York area. The flight diverted to Manchester (N.H.) where it remained overnight to comply with mandated crew rest requirements. The flight redeparted for JFK the following day as Delta flight 9929 but diverted to Boston as a result of severe weather in New York. With improving conditions, the flight arrived at JFK before 8 p.m. EST Tuesday.

The plane was then diverted to Boston after two failed landing attempts.

Lauren Karasek said after that, she couldn’t take it anymore.

“We really decided that we didn’t want to get on another airplane so we booked some train tickets,” Karasek told WMUR-TV, adding that she took an Amtrak train home to New York City.

“When we found out that we were low on fuel and had to go ahead and be diverted, and we were told that we were being diverted to Manchester, [it], of course, surprised everyone on board,” Karasek elaborated.

In this Oct. 30, 2014 photo, passengers line up to pass through security before boarding flights at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Passengers line up to pass through security before boarding flights at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

 

“We’ve had some delays on the train, too, but a much more pleasant ride,” she said. “We’ve had some downed tree lines on train tracks as well.”

The Delta plane finally landed at JFK Airport at around 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Some passengers praised Delta for doing the best it could, given the circumstances.

“They handled it beautifully, they were as accommodating as possible and friendly,” said Corie Buonnano of Delta. “They were going through it with us, and they put on that stoic face and did what they do every day, but did it today better than ever.”

“I told the captain, ‘Thank you for keeping us safe,'” said passenger Leonard Garcia. “He was very professional, and thank God he was an experienced pilot.”