Passengers on a United Airlines flight from Maui to Chicago are finally on their way home after being delayed for almost 24 hours.
Many of those passengers, including some infants and elderly, were forced to spend the night in the airport.
The frustrated passengers started calling KHON2 for help around 11:00 a.m. Sunday morning, saying there was little information about when the flight would actually get off the ground.
Many passengers said the end of their dreamy vacation to Maui was more like a nightmare.
“What’s happened here has been chaotic and I think the frustration is mounting,” Susan Glines, a passenger from Chicago, said.
Troubles began Saturday afternoon. The flight to Chicago was supposed to depart just after 4 p.m.
“They actually opened the door to start boarding, and then they closed the door and said that there was an issue,” Rachna German, a passenger from Chicago, said
That was the start of nearly 10 delays over the next 24 hours.
Passengers said they were given different reasons for those delays leaving them with more questions than answers.
Passengers also told KHON2 they called customer service to rebook on another flight, but were told they’d have to pay out of pocket for it.
“We’ve already paid for our flight here so in order for them to pay for another flight they have to officially cancel,” Glines said.
“People are frustrated, just sitting here and waiting and just no answers,” German said.
The flight was delayed until Sunday morning.
The airline offered hotel and food vouchers, but passengers said there weren’t enough rooms at the designated hotel for everyone on board.
Dozens of passengers ended up sleeping at the airport.
“There were a lot of families with infants that didn’t even get it because it was only 14 rooms,” German said. There’s a family here, they’re traveling in like a group of 30 people and they have a lot of little kids. One’s a 5-month-old and they ran out of diapers.”
“Last night we had to re-rent a car at Budget and then drive around and find an open hotel. That was crazy. Everything is booked here,” Glines said.
After more delays on Sunday, the plane finally left Maui around 2:30 p.m. Sunday.
KHON2 reached out to United Airlines and a spokesperson told us the flight experienced a mechanical delay.
In a statement, the airline said “United flight 348, traveling from Maui to Chicago, experienced a mechanical delay yesterday which has now been repaired. Safety is always our top priority, and we understand this was a significant frustration for our customers. We have apologized for the inconvenience and will be providing compensation to those impacted by this delay, and can confirm the aircraft has departed for Chicago.”
We asked United Airlines for a more detailed explanation of the mechanical issues, and why the flight wasn’t canceled, but we haven’t yet received a response at the time of this report.