AA 991 MIA-CNF passengers sleep at airport?

 
Old Mar 6, 14, 1:28 pm
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AA 991 MIA-CNF passengers sleep at airport?

http://www.em.com.br/app/noticia/ger...ecanicos.shtml

Link in portuguese. Story says the plane had a mechanical issue shortly after 11:40pm take-off at MIA. Upon returning, accommodations were not provided and people had to sleep on the floor at MIA. Food vouchers were provided but since it was past midnight food court wasn't open.

Flight departed MIA this morning and is currently en route to CNF.

Seems really odd that AA wouldn't provide accommodations in this case...

Does anybody have any details/can confirm the story?
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Old Mar 6, 14, 5:13 pm
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It's not entirely unusual. I was connecting in Terminal A at DFW and noticed a number of camping beds from the previous night and storms-affected flights. AA tries to avoid this, because it is uncomfortable for passengers and very exploitable by the media - but indeed it can happen - and when the airport is closed, passengers would have to be admitted through US Customs (anyone know when that is open at MIA?) it exacerbates the problems.

The aircraft had departed close to midnight, but returned to MIA due to a "burning smell" and required mechanical inspection from the airport fire department, prior to returning to a gate; the airline had no way of knowing whether this was a small or major issue. But things went worse, with people (even those flying up front) camping on the floor with $24 and $7 vouchers. Some moved to an Interaero flight found it was also considerably delayed. To cap it off, journalist Fernanda Borges and her husband were on the flight, and apparently they made their displeasure known. All in all, not so good.

As American Airlines and US Airways are still operating as distinct entitities, this question is being moved over to the appropriate pre-merger forum.

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Last edited by JDiver; Mar 6, 14 at 5:20 pm
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Old Mar 6, 14, 8:00 pm
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Originally Posted by JDiver View Post
and when the airport is closed, passengers would have to be admitted through US Customs (anyone know when that is open at MIA?)


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MIA Immigration/Customs open at 4am.
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Old Mar 6, 14, 8:32 pm
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Originally Posted by Rock Harders View Post
MIA Immigration/Customs open at 4am.
As the flight originated from MIA, I don't think this was an issue anyway.
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Old Mar 6, 14, 9:00 pm
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Originally Posted by JDiver View Post
It's not entirely unusual. I was connecting in Terminal A at DFW and noticed a number of camping beds from the previous night and storms-affected flights.
I know I don't have to tell you this, JDiver, but mechanical and wx related problems are very different. If this was mechanical, I'm surprised they weren't provided rooms. Then again, we don't really know all the details.

By the way, I've slept on one of those camping "beds" at DFW and you are right, they are not comfortable but they are better than nothing!
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Old Mar 6, 14, 9:11 pm
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Sounds like the flight departed and returned. At that point, the passengers are international. If the CBP checkpoint is closed, there is nothing AA can do other than to assist in making the passengers as comfortable as possible.

US citizens and residents would need to be inspected and foreign visitors would have to be readmitted.

Sounds like AA did what they could.
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Old Mar 6, 14, 9:58 pm
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Originally Posted by dlflyer2 View Post
Sounds like the flight departed and returned. At that point, the passengers are international. If the CBP checkpoint is closed, there is nothing AA can do other than to assist in making the passengers as comfortable as possible.

US citizens and residents would need to be inspected and foreign visitors would have to be readmitted.
No, that's not true. Since the US did away with Transit Without Visa, all passengers boarding the plane were cleared to be in the US at the time of their departure (perhaps with the limited exception of a forced deportee being aboard). Even if an overstayer or illegal was on board, they would have been in the US anyway had they not boarded the flight.

I wondered about this situation as well, but a similar thing happened to me last year (coincidentally on AA). I departed ORD for NRT, and about an hour into the flight, we had a mechanical and turned around and went back to ORD. I was wondering about this situation myself, but once we got back to the gate, we deplaned as a normal domestic flight would without any fanfare or formality whatever, were told when and where the replacement aircraft would board, but were otherwise loose in the terminal.
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Old Mar 7, 14, 1:18 am
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Originally Posted by dlflyer2 View Post
Sounds like the flight departed and returned. At that point, the passengers are international. If the CBP checkpoint is closed, there is nothing AA can do other than to assist in making the passengers as comfortable as possible.

US citizens and residents would need to be inspected and foreign visitors would have to be readmitted.

Sounds like AA did what they could.
Is the auditorium airside?
The article noted (translated) "Even the first-class passengers slept on the floor and only those who want to pay hosting, went to city hotels"

So, did some passengers go to hotels at their own expense?
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Old Mar 7, 14, 4:04 am
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If some people were indeed paying for hotels on their own, immigration clearly isn't the issue and makes AA look bad. Wish AA would put out a release explaining their side...
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Old Mar 7, 14, 5:53 am
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Originally Posted by Steve M View Post
No, that's not true. Since the US did away with Transit Without Visa, all passengers boarding the plane were cleared to be in the US at the time of their departure (perhaps with the limited exception of a forced deportee being aboard). Even if an overstayer or illegal was on board, they would have been in the US anyway had they not boarded the flight.

I wondered about this situation as well, but a similar thing happened to me last year (coincidentally on AA). I departed ORD for NRT, and about an hour into the flight, we had a mechanical and turned around and went back to ORD. I was wondering about this situation myself, but once we got back to the gate, we deplaned as a normal domestic flight would without any fanfare or formality whatever, were told when and where the replacement aircraft would board, but were otherwise loose in the terminal.
Had a similar experience in Miami, but we were placed on a flight that was leaving almost 14 hours later, we were placed in a hotel at AA's expense, also getting vouchers for breakfast and lunch the next day. Several other passengers on our flight also got treated the same way.
So I agree that immigration cannot be the issue here.
I think the key for free hotel accommodation may be when the replacement flight would be --- if its 6,7 or 8 hours, I really don't know.

Also, I wonder if the AC would have been open so those First class customers could have slept there instead.
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Old Mar 11, 14, 11:56 pm
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As mentioned earlier, the flight's return would've been treated as a domestic inbound and passengers would not have been required to clear customs. Since the flight returned due to a maintenance issue, the passengers did indeed qualify for hotel accommodations. The problem is that hotel availability in Miami has been extremely limited recently. As a stopgap measure, AA has been setting up cots in the terminal's auditorium, though it's obviously far from ideal.
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