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Flightsfromhell.com:Flights From Hell

Flightsfromhell.com:Flights From Hell – FlightsFromHell.com is a place where angry passengers can go and tell their horrific tales about flying,mean crew members,rude pilots,long flight delays,and cruel airline companies.Below is a passenger’ misadventure with Continental :

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TREATED LIKE CATTLE
Continental Flight 512 (EWR – POP Newark, NJ to Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic) 1/22/09

We arrived in Puerto Plata only to circle the airport for about an hour and a half. No updates were given by the crew. Finally the pilot said we were diverting to Santo Domingo airport because the cloud level was too low in Puerto Plata and he was running out of fuel. We taxied to a cargo area to refuel and wait out the storm. We sat on the plane for two hours with no updates from the Captain or any crew member. The crew started to run out of food and water. By this time the passengers were getting restless, having been on the plane for over seven hours (when it was supposed to be a four hour flight). The captain came on and said we could be leaving any moment and that we could not leave the plane.

The captain finally agreed to let us board buses to the terminal so that we could stretch our legs and eat. We got to the Santo Domingo Terminal and were told to stay close by as we could be leaving any moment. I ordered some food. When I came back to the terminal Continental had food laid out for the passengers for free but never mentioned it to anyone. We sat around the terminal for another two hours with no updates. Finally, a Continental employee shouted that the flight was cancelled. So now we are stuck in the airport overnight. The Continental employee made another announcement that Continental would be bussing us to a hotel but we would not be allowed back on the plane to retrieve our items nor would or luggage be taken off the plane. I explained to another Continental employee that I had carry-on still on the plane that had my daily medicine in it. He said to me “Well, that is too bad because you cannot go get it.” After trying to explain to him that I absolutely needed to get my medicine he called me an idiot and said I should have been smarter.

Finally after my fellow passengers complained the man making the announcements said “Fine, I don’t care. We will bring the plane over so you can get the items you left on board but we are not going to take your bags off the plane.” It took Continental an hour and a half to bring the plane over and to let everyone back on the plane. The whole time, the Continental staff were shouting at the passengers. I don’t blame Continental for the weather hold but their handling of the situation was deplorable.

After a lot of arguing, Continental agreed to let us retrieve our luggage so we could have it that night. At this point it is close to 9:30pm local time. We were told to pick up vouchers and meet the buses to take us to the hotel. The Continental staff “forgot” to tell us where to go to do all of these things. Luckily, I ran into airport staff who directed me to the Continental counter to ask. I waited in line with the other four people in my party for another hour to get our hotel vouchers. As I got to the front of the line, I heard another passenger ask about a bus. I asked her if there was a bus to Puerto Plata from Santo Domingo. She stated that she had heard that other passengers had charted a bus and had already left. When I asked the Continental employee at the counter if there was a bus he insisted that there was no bus and that I should just take my hotel voucher and “Go Away.”

As I was standing at the counter another Continental employee said that indeed there was a bus but that it had already left. The employee at the counter said “Well, there is a bus but you would be an idiot to take it.” I asked the employee who had informed us about the bus if he could get us (myself and 20 other passengers) a bus as well. He said he would try. The employee behind the counter, who had told me there was no bus, said that the roads were washed out and that we were all dumb and would get “raped and murdered” and should just go to the hotel. I asked him to stop talking to us because we had heard him and were all adults and were going to do what we wanted to. He then muttered “Bitch” and turned away from me.

The Continental employee who had gone to check on a bus came back and said, we have a bus but you all need to leave now. We all boarded the bus and arrived in Puerto Plata 4 hours later at 3:40am 1/23/2009.

Continental handled this situation completely wrong. Information was not given to passengers and when it was it was wrong. Continental did not let people choose if they wanted to take a bus or stay in a hotel. I had to overhear someone else mention a bus.

On a side note, the people who were taken to the hotel were put back on the plane the next morning only to circle the Puerto Plata airport for two hours before going back to Santo Domingo. They were finally put on buses to Puerto Plata (after being told that buses would be too dangerous). I know this because the rest of my party was on that flight. They did not arrive in Puerto Plata until 8:30pm 1/23/2009 – 35.5 hours after the flight originated.

I cannot understand how Continental can claim to care about its customers but treat them like cattle. Something needs to be done. 2/09

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