176 passengers spent 20 hours in military barracks, some without heat or towels.

By Erika Owen
January 24, 2017
Courtesy of United

No matter what your most cringe-worthy layover story may be, 176 passengers on a United Airlines flight last weekend have one that (probably) tops yours. Travelers were on a 7.5-hour flight from Chicago to London when it made a precautionary landing in Canada about three hours into the journey. Passenger Lois Harper told CNN that “the captain came on and basically just said there were some lights on in the cockpit and that there was some vibrations that passengers in the back of the plane were feeling”—enough of a mishap to warrant an impromptu grounding in the crew’s eyes.

The Boeing 767-300 landed at a military base in Goose Bay Newfoundland where passengers waited on the plane until they were informed that they would be spending the night in the base’s barracks. According to Harper, there weren’t any towels, blankets, or heating available in her accommodations. Temperatures that night dipped into the 30s, meaning passengers were left to their own carry-ons for warmer clothing.

The next morning, passengers were delivered to the base’s mess hall via school bus for breakfast. Interestingly enough, there were no United crewmembers available on-site to update flyers, according to Harper. A tweet from United attempted to clear things up: "The crew must rest in order to continue the flight. You can rest on board the aircraft knowing they are in charge." The bright side: passengers were promised a refund for the unexpected delay.

Erika Owen is the Audience Engagement Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @erikaraeowen.

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