It’s entirely understandable that Sun Country Airlines would divert a flight from Minneapolis to Waco instead of Dallas on Sunday night, where weather presented a safety issue. After all, even Scott Crossfield had the “right stuff”, but was no match for a thunderstorm.
They sat on the ground for three hours and were finally taken off the plane just before sanctions would be imposed under FAA regulations.
Then, according to a passenger on Instagram, the plane flew away, leaving them behind.
@suncountryair #flight505 is still awaiting a response for your fiasco in #wacotexas last night. How you treated your customers due to a weather delay was appalling. The safest part was watching your flight crew fly the plane away after forcing us all off the plane and stranding us with 3 people who had no idea what was going on as you never followed @faa.ags regulations and updated us every 30min. We just want to be treated like human beings and get a formal and sincere apology and something for the trouble you put us through. #badcustomerservice #suncountry @kare11 is running our story at 6pm.
If it was safe to fly the plane away empty, why couldn’t it take the 100 pasengers too?
The security show.
“Because federal regulations also require airlines to screen passengers prior to re-boarding the aircraft, we could not re-board passengers after receiving clearance to return to DFW because TSA agents were not available to screen passengers,” Sun Country Vice President of Marketing Kelsey Dodson-Smith told a Waco TV station.
The passengers said they were left at the airport overnight with no food. [Update: Sun Country says it provided food from Whataburger]
They were put on a bus to Dallas on Monday morning.
Statement from Sun Country Airlines
As a result of very bad weather issues in the Dallas Texas area, we’d like to sincerely apologize to our customers for any inconvenience they experienced during their travels last night on Sun Country Airlines flight 505 from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW).
Unfortunately, inclement weather forced DFW to close. To ensure the safety of our passengers, the flight was rerouted to nearby Waco, Texas to wait out the weather and refuel. The US Department of Transportation (DOT) requires airlines to deplane passengers from any plane grounded for three hours, so we deplaned all passengers immediately prior to the three-hour mark. Because federal regulations also require airlines to screen passengers prior to re-boarding the aircraft, we could not re-board passengers after receiving clearance to return to DFW because TSA agents were not available to screen passengers. While we arranged alternative transportation for our customers and did our best to make our passengers comfortable, due to the late hour, the alternative transportation took longer than expected to arrive, and we are sorry that we could not get them to DFW sooner. We sincerely apologize to our customers for any inconveniences they experienced during their travels.