JFK International arriving passengers stranded on tarmac. Apparently customs officials went home.

Passengers endure delays of up to 7 hours on JFK tarmac

New York (CNN) — Hundreds of travelers spent up to seven hours stranded in cramped planes stuck on the tarmac at JFK International Airport early Tuesday, but it was not almost immediately clear why they were not allowed to deplane.

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A British Airways spokesman blamed a lack of gate space for a seven-hour ordeal for passengers on a flight from London, while a Port Authority spokesman suggested buses could have rescued travelers from JFK’s icy tarmacs.

Aeromexico’s Flight 404 landed at JFK from Mexico City at 1:15 a.m., more than two hours behind schedule, but passenger Cristobal Alex said it was six hours before he could walk off the plane.

“We were running out of food and water and the pilot came on to say he had been arguing with the folks at the airport to at least let the police come on board to deliver some food and water,” Alex said. “And I guess he lost that fight — nobody came on.”

The airport keeps buses ready to help removed passengers from planes stranded on JFK’s tarmacs, “but sometimes the airlines don’t inform us,” Port Authority of New York and New Jersey spokesman Steve Coleman said.

The Aeromexico jet pulled up to a gate after several hours on the tarmac, but the doors stayed closed until 7 a.m. ET, Alex said.

“Apparently, what happened was the customs folks went home at 1 a.m. and so everybody coming international kind of had to sit out there in the snow all night,” he said…… continued

CNN.com/Travel (click here)

4 comments for “JFK International arriving passengers stranded on tarmac. Apparently customs officials went home.

  1. December 28, 2010 at 7:53 am

    JFK customs closed ?? I don’t think so. Perhaps they couldn’t get to work or staff it properly. Which should have been made known and announced.

  2. Jamees
    December 28, 2010 at 8:35 pm

    They had gone home! Why was nobody there to meet us? We had to wait till 6.30am to get off the plane. That was an 8 hours wait. I dont believe that a country that is so experienced to extreme weather conditions couldnt get staff into work. Very poor.

  3. Anthony Molloy
    December 28, 2010 at 9:08 pm

    I was one of the passengers on the BA0183 and can confirm that the aircraft landed at 10.20pm local time.The BA crew told us that the Immigration and customs people did not start their next shift till 6.00am. We were let of the plane at 6.30am. There were 2, yes 2, immigration officers to process us and a Cathy Pacific flight, so some 800 people and 2 officers to deal with it.An hour later a third officer showed up and another 30 mins later a fourth.It was 9.00 am before I got through and I was at the front of the queue of the BA passengers. Not that it mattered as the bags did not come through till 10.00am anyway. Still all in all an absolute disgrace.
    There are signs up at the immigration station at jfk saying “we treat you with respect” etc.
    Really. No toilet facilities. No communication> No water or food for families with young kids.
    In short, if JFK was a private company that had to deliver to its customers then it would be bust.

  4. JTW
    January 7, 2011 at 12:54 am

    and of course the leftwing crackpots at CNN blame the airlines for what is very obviously the failing of NY Port Authority (and thus the city of New York, who own the Port Authority) and the TSA/DHS.

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