By Andrea Romano
December 26, 2018
anouchka/Getty Images

If you thought your holiday travel experience was bad, think again.

According to The Points Guy, passengers on a Delta flight from Beijing, China to Seattle, Washington ended up on a major detour landing them on the remote island of Shemya in Alaska for about 12 hours on the morning of Dec. 24.

The 194 passengers on Flight 128 were told that a “potential engine issue” caused their flight to be diverted temporarily, but they never expected to be dropped off on a tiny island that is basically just a runway strip and an Air Force refueling hub.

After the passengers landed, Delta immediately dispatched a new aircraft with a team of mechanics, airport customer service, and a new plane crew to continue on their journey, according to the Anchorage Daily News.

The weather on Shemya on Dec. 24 was a brisk high of 39 degrees Fahrenheit and a low of 36, with winds reaching up to 27 miles per hour. Not exactly the ideal place to hang out, but luckily there were facilities on the island for passengers to wait indoors, according to Delta.

The small island is not a stranger to diverted planes, actually. The little respite in southwest Alaska is often used for emergency landings or as a refueling station for commercial flights heading across the Pacific Ocean, reported the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

According to Alaska Public Media, the passengers all safely got onto another flight around 4 p.m. local time and landed at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport around 10 p.m. the same day, so no one had to miss Christmas after all.

Delta has not commented on what caused the mechanical issue. Hopefully nothing odd caused it.

“Delta apologizes to customers for the delay and has sent another aircraft to continue the flight to Seattle,” Huddleston said. “The safety of our customers and crew is always Delta’s top priority,” the airline said in a statement, according to the Seattle Times.