Severe weather diverts flights to RIC, leaves hundreds stranded for hours

Richmond

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Hundreds of passengers were stranded at Richmond International Airport for hours Wednesday morning after six flights had to be diverted to Richmond due to severe weather.

The flights were headed to areas north, including New Jersey and New York, but then re-routed because of severe weather there. 

Passengers 8News spoke with angry passengers who pointed their fingers at the airline.

“JetBlue dropped the ball on us major, big time,” one traveler said. 

“We’ve been here in the airplane and airport for 13 hours now and we cant go home, we can’t do anything,” young passenger Zoe Bologh added.

The six flights were carrying more than 500 people, all of whom were diverted and joined together in Richmond.

Four of the flights were canceled and two others eventually continued on to their destination.

Travelers leaving Mexico were required to go through U.S. Customs & Immigration.

Richmond International Airport says it is equipped to handle international flights, but only when they are scheduled. Since Wednesday’s diversions were not planned, RIC had to call in reinforcements.

“We had to sit on the runway for two-and-a-half hours before they could get immigration to come from Norfolk,” Bologh explained.

After getting through customs, many of the airport’s restaurants were closed, so JetBlue spent $1,000 on pizza for passengers.

“It’s been 14 hours now and all we got was a slice of pizza and a bottle of water,” Bologh said.

Not every passenger was unhappy with the way the situation was handled. Karen Lally said she’s been a travel agent for 20 years and applauds JetBlue. 

“It really couldn’t be avoided, and unfortunately they’re blaming Jet Blue and it’s not Jet Blue’s fault,” Lally said. “It was weather-related, there were thousands of planes diverted.”

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