United Strands Hundreds In Remote Goose Bay Canada For 20 Hours

Filed Under: United

United 958 was flying from Chicago O’Hare to London Heathrow on Friday, June 12, when it had to divert to Goose Bay, Canada, due to a mechanical issue.

United 958 diverted to Goose Bay on June 12.
United 958 diverted to Goose Bay on June 12.

Fortunately, the plane landed and the passengers and crew are safe. The Daily Mail reports:

Hundreds of men, women and children have been abandoned at remote barracks in Canada for 20 hours so far after their United Airlines flight from Chicago to London made an emergency landing.

For those that don’t know, the town of Happy Valley – Goose Bay (population 7,500) is way out there. It’s part of Labrador in extreme eastern Canada. You’ve probably flown right over and never knew it. That’s because it’s the point at which you say good-bye to North America on your way to Europe and the first point you see on the way back.

The flight path from Flight Aware shows that United 958 actually returned to Goose Bay after having started across the Atlantic.

United 898 on June 12, 2015 diverted to Goose Bay, Canada.
United 958 diverted to Goose Bay, Canada, on June 12, 2015

The passengers are safe, whether they are cozy is another matter. Again from The Daily Mail:

The passengers were apparently forced to sleep in uncomfortable beds with only two blankets and no heating at Goose Bay barracks on Friday night after landing due to a ‘fault’ with the aircraft.

They have reportedly been given only two meals, have had ‘no word at all’ from United Airlines – and two elderly passengers were even ‘dumped’ at the wrong part of the barracks and left overnight.

It was reported to be near freezing that night. It’s unclear why the barracks didn’t have heat, though it’s possible that “near freezing” is actually considered warm by the Canadian Forces who usually occupy the barracks. At any rate, let’s just hope that the blankets were issued by the troops and were not the United blankerchiefs from the plane — the ones that measure 2 feet by 4 feet and are roughly the thickness of gauze. 

The diversion to Goose Bay in and of itself is not particularly newsworthy. Planes divert there all the time due to it’s proximity to the transatlantic flight paths. And of course, it’s better to divert there than end up in the drink. The issue here seems to be the way United handles mishaps these days.

But while the passengers remain hungry, cold and ‘confused’, the crew spent the night at a hotel in Newfoundland and Labrador, passenger Simon Millward told DailyMail.com from the barracks.

Well, that pretty much speaks for itself.

Anyway, United eventually responded on Twitter.

Continue the flight? That probably would have been nice. Nope, it was cancelled. Reports are that it was an issue with the rudder.

Not continuing onto London on this plane!
Not continuing to London on this plane!

United opted to send a replacement plane from Newark to rescue the passengers. Except it was delayed nearly 5 hours due to a mechanical issue of it’s own. That should give these people a lot of confidence.

The replacement aircraft was delayed 4 hours.
The replacement aircraft was delayed almost 5 hours.

Like I say, diversions to Goose Bay aren’t that uncommon especially for United. It’s gotten to the point that Jeff Smisek should really consider adding Goose Bay to the route network given the number of United flights that stop there, particularly in the winter when the Boeing 757’s sometimes can’t carry sufficient fuel to make the return trip in one hop.

But until then, United will continue to outsource their customer service to the Canadian Forces. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure they do a fine job, and in fact, reports indicate that their hospitality this time around was impeccable. It does make me wonder though what rate United has negotiated with the CFB for lodging.

Like I say, I’m glad that everyone is safe and sound. 

  1. Someone ballpark me on standard UA compensation to a passenger in this situation. 50k miles a person?

  2. I’m not sure what your point is.

    The tweet from United was a bit snarky, but it’s probably a good point – as annoyed as I would have been in the barracks, I’d be way happier knowing the crew got some proper sleep and was in good shape to keep flying.

    And they did send a new plane as fast as they could – we all know airlines don’t have a lot of heavies sitting around, with nothing to do.

    Don’t get me wrong – I don’t fly United – for a number of reasons. And sure, airlines could always be more communicative, but it’s flying and planes and people – stuff happens.

  3. someone might want to remind Travis that Goose Bay IS in Newfoundland!!!

    Labrador is just one part of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

    Don’t snark on geography unless you know your geography.

  4. “Eastern Quebec”? Cmon, this is supposed to be a travel blog. That’s the equivalent of saying Boston is in Eastern New York.
    Goose Bay is in Labrador, part of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. If you didn’t know that, that’s why there’s a little “NL” in the province code in the picture you posted.
    (And there are obviously hotels in Labrador, so that part of your side rant makes no sense. Google.)

  5. Travis….Goose Bay is located in Newfoundland and Labrador Newfoundland is the island and Labrador is part of the mainland. Adjacent to Quebec, but certainly not a part of it.

    Check Google maps. Obviously both passengers and crew stayed in Goose bay!

  6. Yeah, Canadian hospitality are unbelieable. That’s why they have amazing Four Seasons and Fairmont hotels while we only have shitty Waldorf, Ritz, St. Regis and Park Hyatt. (They are also good but not as good as four seasons)

  7. From checking tripadvisor, there are a few hotels & B&Bs in Goose Bay. I wonder whether the passengers were at least given the option to stay there (even if it’s out of their own pocket.)

  8. “Only two blankets”? How many do you need?

    Not a fun situation, but it’s always better to be a little uncomfortable for the night than unsafe. Not saying they should have enjoyed it, but this story seems a bit over dramatized.

  9. ” @SurrogateNerd The crew must rest in order to continue the flight. You can rest on board the aircraft knowing that they are in charge. ^CA ”

    That response from United is nothing short of shocking, disrespectful and demeaning.

    Flights divert all the time and airlines do their best to deal with the issues that a diversion entails

    But, for a company to answer a passenger in a condescending manner without any reference to the plight the passenger finds himself in is shocking. Not one word of empathy!!

    On another note, United appear to have far more “issues” with their flights than other airlines

  10. Goose Bay is actually a pretty neat town, but it’s isolated, and like most small towns they don’t have hundreds of hotel rooms waiting for walk-ins.

    Of course, United should have done more for the passengers. After the 9/11 attacks some planes were ordered to land as soon as possible, and there were lots of stories about how gracious the people of Newfoundland and Labrador were in letting passengers stay in their homes.

  11. Just want to add a bit of colour to what others have said. There was actually a fairly heated border dispute between the governments of Canada and Newfoundland about the exact border between Labrador (the part in NL) and “eastern Quebec.” Ultimately, the argument had to be settled by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London (both countries being separate Dominions of the British Empire before confederation with Canada). Goose Bay was so popular, the québécois wanted it.

  12. Congratulations Travis, you just shown that no matter if Americans travel the world they still can’t get next door geography right. How are things in Denver, Montana anyways?

    The smart travellers would have had travellers insurance and opted for a hotel and/or getting rebooked YYR-YYT/YHZ-LHR on AC leveraging the power of the star alliance during Irrops. FFers would have likely gotten 150% EQM/additional segment credit, lounge access in YYT/YHZ and been on there way a lot quicker than waiting for a backup plane.

  13. @Travis: ouch! on the geography hiccup.

    But seriously, if one is gonna be left to the tender mercies of locals in a small town, Newfoundland and Labrador is about as good as it gets. Not on material luxury, but on human warmth. There aren’t kinder, more hospitable people. Or more amusing.

    Your post reminds me of an actual PA announcement I was subjected to on a Continental flight from Houston, TX as it landed in Toronto: “Have a nice day, here in the Canada area.”

  14. I got a kick out of the blog post and had NO idea I was gonna have even more fun reading the replies. Thanks all for the entertainment!

  15. If you’re writing for publication, even online, please learn the difference between it’s and its. It makes you look bad, and jars readers from an otherwise decent post.

  16. just 100% out of curiosity … please tell me how any other airline would deal with this issue differently?

    Maybe next time, they put all those idiots who complain onto a cargo plane and drop their ass off mid flight over the Atlantic just so they can be glad to have avoided spending a night in barracks …

  17. Just another one here in the “Goose Bay isn’t in eastern Quebec” camp. Goose Bay is very clearly in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador – they actually get a surprising amount of press (thanks to events like this one), so the “far eastern Quebec” thing really threw me off.

  18. A Google search indicates a small selection of hotels and B&Bs in the Gander area, although I doubt any one of them would be able to accommodate 200+ passengers. Had UA sent them to different hotels, a nightmare would have followed when trying to get everyone back for a flight. Some may have opted for a walk, long bath or leisurely dinner. UA had no way of knowing when a new plane would arrive, and in the interest of getting passengers to London, would need everyone in one general collection area. It may have not been the ideal situation but it sure as heck beats the alternative of crashing into frigid waters.

  19. Yep, another grossly inaccurate understanding of Canadian geography by this American. Sorry for folks.

    I updated the statement to say that Goose Bay is in extreme eastern Canada, and removed the statement about Newfoundland not being near Labrador. (Technically, if you’re referring to the physical landmasses, I still maintain they are not the same. But in this case, the political boundary includes both. So I’m wrong.)

    Thanks for pointing out the inaccuracy. Really appreciate it. And feel free to keep mocking me in the comments, I probably deserve it.

    To bolster my standing among Canadians, I will point out that my having actually driven through New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and ultimately taken the ferry to Newfoundland (and driven across it) probably puts me ahead of 99% of Americans, but whatever. (I actually wanted to take the ferry from Goose Bay down to Newfoundland on that trip, but it was sold out for the month of July.)

  20. United is having major maintenance issues currently – on the 10th june out of Newark, 2 x 777 was cancelled due to mechanical issues and at least 1 767-400 was delayed 3 hours due to mechanical issues. Needless to say that Newark terminal 1 concourse C was a nightmare. Though kudos to the staff in the United Club who tried their best to assist people, though they did have a hard time getting it right.

  21. Notayank — very doubtful that would have been an option. I would bet that due to immigration restrictions, the passengers were required to stay as a group in the barracks, meaning no one gets on a different flight, nor goes to a different hotel.

    I had a “simple” diversion once to Lincoln, Nebraska, and couldn’t even get United to switch me over to another United flight. The GS standing next to me couldn’t either.

  22. Andy — thanks for the historical color. I should just claim that I got confused about who won that dispute…. 😉

  23. As someone who was on that flight, I can shed some light onto the situation.
    First, the pilot did an amazing job here. I talked with some FAs, who were literally in tears thinking the plane was going down (yes, it was a jammed rutter). Think about some of the worst turbulence you’ve ever experienced; it was like that but we had clear skies. We are all safe (and finally touched down in London!), so that’s really what mattered.

    Second, the people of Goose Bay were amazing and totally empathetic.
    That said, accommodations were a disaster. First and Business were on the first bus to the barracks. We had no heat, a single sheet (most didn’t have blankets), had to make the beds ourselves (no big deal given the situation), and had to share a bathroom with a stranger. We all understood the immediacy and lack of time to prep, so really this wasn’t a big deal.
    United, on the other hand, were silent. We were told we’d leave the barracks at 1pm for a continuation to London. When it became clear through several calls to the MP line that our replacement plane wasn’t going to make it, nobody said a word. We all built a network and shared info, no thanks to proactive outreach by United.
    Finally, 4:30 rolls around and we take buses back to the air field. Still no plane (incidentally, another UA plane made an emergency landing at Goose Bay while we were waiting on our replacement).
    New plane comes, we board. Then time starts ticking, presumably due to congestion at EWR. Yes, we had to fly back to EWR to continue on the same plane to LHR. No news as to why.
    Get to EWR at midnight and United really bit operationally. Bag re-check and ticketing queue took 2 hours for some. Seats were a mess, to the point where the agents gave up and said “just keep your original seats.”
    Now, in the meantime, UA cancels flight 940 to LHR to give the slot to our 958 flight from Friday (now renamed UA2063). Of course, many angry 940ers rebooked on 2063. That became a complete disaster with duplicate seats, as all of us 958ers were told to keep our original seats, thus leaving the system confused.
    All that sorted, we finally took off and landed in London.

    United had offered to refund the leg plus 25k miles or $500 ecert.
    Bottom line, the experience sucked but we all made the most of it (and enjoyed some fine Canadian beer during the wait). We are safe, and recognize the inconvenience is a small price to pay for that hero of a pilot landing a broken plane in Goose Bay.

  24. There’s NOTHING more pathetic than how quickly Canadians get angry at Americans for not having a flawless understanding of the wacky geography of the giant collection of moose and igloos known as Canada. Sheesh. Get over yourselves. The only reason Canadians know anything about US geography is so you can keep track of where all the former Canadian NHL teams moved away to. Go put some gas in your snowmobiles and get yourself some ketchup- flavoUred Lays chips and calm down.

  25. I can’t believe how much criticism there is between post time and the time Travis apologized – then afterwards, almost no comments. Can we cut back on the negativity and give the guy a break? This is a good blog and I appreciate the timely updates on news and events. Thank you for keeping us informed!

  26. Haha. Was wondering why lucky was so wrong with geography until I realized it was a Travis post. Usually skip those but haven’t had coffee today.

  27. Thank you Jay for your detailed information about the “accommodation” that United’s spoke person quoted. I am happy to hear that the pilot did a good job landing the plane, but what followed reflects “what exactly is wrong with United?”?

    In the end, I am glad that you made it home safely.

    Thanks for sharing!

  28. Its very simple
    Just some overly entitled elite passengers complaining again that they want to get to their final destination safely.
    We have outsourced our maintenance as we need to save money so we executives can have our Golden parachute funds protected
    It was a simple short mechanical delay and some of our most premium passengers have said they would welcome the lovely overnight accommodations again.
    Passengers really enjoyed the nice surprise and free night on us in the barracks as well as the escape from the brutal heat of summer
    All passengers will receive 500 bonus miles and a 5% coupon on their next full fare first or business class flights good for 90 days. Thank You for flying Untied Airlines
    CEO of Untied

  29. Zack — I noticed the same thing. Kind of funny. Almost makes me wish I hadn’t corrected the post, LOL. Thanks for the support. Really appreciate it.

  30. Jay — Thanks for your first-hand perspective. Glad that you guys are OK.

    I’d say you should the extra miles for going to Goose Bay and back, but since you didn’t pay anything for that trip so….

  31. I currently live and work in CYYR- Goose Bay…ATC.
    Hotel accommodations in Goose Bay are numerous, but due to a Mega Hydro Project (Muskrat Falls) nearby, vacancy is next to nil. I will however say our spring so far has been cool and would believe the passengers would indeed find it quite unbearable. I hope the local hospitality and uniqueness of Goose Bay will be memorable.
    Welcome to the Big land – Labrador

  32. @Travis

    YYR is a classified as POE so CBSA facilities are present and they would have had to clear everyone. Especially since this airport has

    While I agree many psychogically would believe they would have to stay together/wait for UA, those in the know could have gotten rebooked on AC with as little as a FIM (by walking over to the AC desk or calling UA and doing HUCA). Those with Canadian citizenship would have had right of return and couldn’t be stopped from re entering their own country. This is where knowing what the rules are and pushing back on objections can come in handy. Know of others who have done this (albeit not at this location) so it definitely possible. But does require a proactive/assertive ethos.

    Your UA flight is less relevant given you were a) on a domestic flight b) Intercontinental *A rules did not apply. Although UA call centres (especially overseas) one can be your friend in getting rebooked when (limited) ground staff say no.

  33. Taylor — Uh, better watch out. Gander is in Newfoundland. This diversion was to Goose Bay. I’ve already been ridiculed in the first 20 comments for making a similar mistake — wouldn’t want you to suffer the same fate my friend! Keep the heat on me, not you.

  34. For those ridiculing my blatant and egregious geography mistake…

    I’ve been to Gander. I know the difference between Saint John and St. John’s. I’ve been to Moncton (and hope the US women’s soccer team doesn’t end up there). I know how long the ferry takes to go from Nova Scotia to Newfie. Hell, I even (sort of) know how to pronounce Newfoundland like a local (accent on the LAND?). I once tried to plan a driving trip across Labrador and take the ferry down to Newfie, but couldn’t get tickets cause the month of July is when the locals take their vacations so the ferry is booked months in advance.

    But yeah, I made a mistake at midnight last night, and clearly don’t know jack about Canadian maritime geography….

    I’m curious — How many of you have ever been to ANY of the Maritime provinces?

  35. Notayank — Appreciate your response. Let’s ask Jay who was on the flight if they were cleared for entry into Canada. I’m guessing not, but I could be wrong.

  36. Uhhh Travis you just put your foot in the mouth (again) by claiming Newfoundland/Labrador is part of the maritimes (it’s not). Maritimes was formed prior to Newfoundland/Labrador joining Canada. They are part of the Atlantic Provinces NOT the Maritimes.

    If you’ve actually been Newfoundland/Labrador you would have known this is a cultural faux pas….

    Kinda like if put bumper stickers: ”Nascar Sucks” and ”Hillary for President” and decided to take a leisurely drive to the deep south.

  37. Your still alive people quit complaining so much and be thankful!!!! Would you have been happier if they diverted to Paris and gave you a free pass to Disney???

  38. Travis — thank you for pointing out my error. It was, believe it or not, a typo on my part. I too was on a flight about 12 years ago which landed there for re-fuelling before continuing on to LGW. We had the pleasure of sitting on the plane for 9 hours before arrangements could be made for re-fuelling.

  39. How far east do you have to be to be in ‘extreme’ eastern Canada? How far west would you have to be in ‘extreme’ western Canada? What about ‘extreme’ northern or southern Canada while you are at it?

    Couldn’t help it… 😉

  40. Geography Yank — you unfortunately are one of the reasons so many throughout the world speak negatively of Americans. I never have and hope that I never do insult your country. You are correct when you state that Americans do not have a flawless knowledge of Canadian geography. One must have some form of knowledge for it to be considered flawless and in my observations, Americans have flawed and incorrect knowledge of your neighbour to the north. I trust you are aware that part of the US is further north than parts of Canada, and I am not referring to Alaska. Now, as the weather is so warm, I shall remove my snowshoes, hang up my bearskin parka, re-cycle the melting ice from my igloo, grab a cold Labatt’s Blue and do a bit of sunbathing while watching the boats on Lake Ontario.

  41. So I grew up in Canada. I even wont he geography award in grade 8 and I have to say @notayank I would have included Newfoundland/Labrador as a Maritime province and feel like you are really dealing in semantics that really don’t seem germane to this post.

    Thanks Travis for bringing this up. People seem more interested in typos and geography than actually what happened. My husband is a United 1K flyer. Neither of us have ever had a mechanical issue that has affected us (and obviously he travels a lot) but I find it worrisome that they they seem to have so many…Delta, AA, Virgin? I read travel/airplane blogs all the time and wonder why it is everyone else can maintain their planes but United? Is it a labor dispute? Are United just so poorly run?

    We remain with them because we prefer Star Alliance. This makes me think we have to change and start flying someone else. I just hate Sky Team as an Alliance and One World is fine, but out of NYC United has more direct flights to the places we fly.

    Thanks for sharing this information scary and really informative. You got to wonder how a huge airline like United can be so tone def and so lax in their safety standards as to have what seems like a disproportionate amount of mechanical problems on their planes.

  42. Yes, we were cleared for entry to Canada via 2 customs agents who were extremely nice after undoubtedly being awaken to clear a 767 at midnight.
    Issue was, we never touched the civilian terminal. Old school buses picked us straight up from the aircraft, straight to customs, the back on the same bus to the barracks. originally, we were told a replacement 767 would arrive morning time Saturday for a straight continuation to LHR. Given that, none of us could find better options. Of course, the story changed when the original replacement was grounded for maintenance as well.

    Regarding the temperature. In my room, it was 14 Celsius / 57 Fahrenheit. May not seem cold, but with only a sheet and no fresh clothes, I can assure it was unpleasant. Some of the other barracks did have heat, so I believe it was isolated to barracks 306 (mine) and 305. The rest were toasty.

  43. I find it odd that most people posting here are more concerned with whether or not the writer knows his North American geography than the fact that this plane had a potentially catastrophic mechanical issue and made an emergency landing, followed by another UA plane and in addition to the replacement plane having a mechanical issue.

    After being stranded by UA at ORD for 2 days via 5 consecutive cancelled flights and with NO explanation from UA, I vowed to never fly UA ever again. I will rent a car, ride a train or bus if I have to before I will ever get on a UA flight again.

    Those of you who are complaining about the geography and grammar are completely missing the point and should be made to fly UA for your next 2 flights as punishment. 😉

  44. Give Travis a break, it’s a chore to weed through so many moot and critical points to get to a great comment like Jay’s first hand account of being on the rerouted plane. Amazing there was yet another one while they were there.

  45. I have made over 140 roundtrips across the North Atlantic Ocean. On only two occasions — on flights back from London and Paris — did we have an emergency landing. The first was in 1992 on a TWA flight from Paris. TWA was in bankruptcy and had no credit. The pilot had not loaded enough fuel in Paris to take into account the headwinds. So we literally ran out of gas and had to land in Gandar — where it took at least three hours for TWA HQ to wire cash to the fuel company at the airport so that they would agree to fill up our plane.

    The other time was on a British Airways flight from LHR to (ostensibly) Boston. This was in December 1995 on my way back from reaching the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro on the Kenyan/Tanzanian border. Boston was in blizzard by the time we crossed the Atlantic and we were forced down in Bangor, Maine. After trying repeatedly to cue up and de-ice (with the many other passenger and cargo jets) over the next six hours and take-off during the brief windows that BOS re-opened — we finally starting taxiing down the runway somewhat after midnight local time when the pilot slammed on the brakes and announced that we were out of crew time. (It was kind of nuts considering how short the flight was and the fact that he had literally started to take-off when he changed his mind midstream.) We got back to the terminal — but the one gate that could handle our 747 was occupied so it took over an hour to get the other plane moved. I think I got to a two star hotel (and I was a Gold card member — their highest status rank at the time) around 2:00-2:15 am. They had advised a 6 hour bus ride to Boston the next day. I was able to rebook on a 7:00 am USAirways plane — that although delayed about an hour in all — did finally land in Boston — only to have my connection to HPN (White Plains) be repeatedly delayed and then finally cancelled. I called my “Guardian Angel” at British Airways and she told me to take Amtrak to Stamford, Connecticut and send her the bill for reimbursement. The best part? A week after I had gotten home, she called me and asked if I had remembered to send the Amtrak receipt for reimbursement. Assuredly, that kind of customer service no longer exists!

  46. As a Canadian I say, give it a rest. This is a blog people, a mistake was made, he apologized, what’s the big deal? Besides, who cares if Americans don’t know anything about us. Every time I’ve visited American I’ve always encountered some great people and many of them looked clueless when I said I was from that (obscure city:) called Toronto. Sure I chuckled but whatever. As far as I’m concerned I live in the best country in the world. If you know about it, cool. If you could care less, no problem.

    I would say to Geography Yank though, petty insults about a population, that isn’t yours, is pathetic. Luckily, I haven’t met someone like you on my travels in the U.S.

  47. Boy did United catch a break with Travis’ geography glitch. Without that to call out, everyone would rightly have been complaining about the appalling manner in which United handled this matter.

    ANY business should be run for the satisfaction and convenience of its customers, NOT for the management and staff. 20 hours is utterly and completely unacceptable and when something of this delay level occurs, the CEO and director of operations should receive immediate notification and take responsibility for managing the situation. For United senior management to think it’s not a crisis to leave a plane load of trans Atlantic passengers stranded in the middle of nowhere for nearly a day is beyond belief and does not bode well for the airlines future.

    Change the culture and start running the business FOR the customers.

  48. These PAX are a bunch of wimps. Your aircraft was not airworthy! You landed safely. UAL has no employees at Goose. You were met by some of the nicest people in the world. You stayed in the same barracks that until several years ago were used by USAF airmen. The crew needs proper crew rest. Yes, they are special. Get over it, stuff happens. Embrace the adventure. USAF aircrews face worse challenges on six continents every day.

  49. I think you will find that USAF crew were not paying for their own “Adventure” neither were they expected to sleep in the cold with not enough blankets to keep themselves warm

  50. I blame these passengers for flying on United on international flights! I know some may not know how horrible United flights & customer service is so It is a learning experience for them.

    I have flown UA many times internationally in past few years and recently and I vowed to pay close attention to my reservation to make sure it is not UA if it is international.

    They have the oldest planes, zero personal entertainment system or very narrow seats and pathetic crews! I also try to avoid AA & Delta!

  51. I think the implicit point that people are dancing around is that if United is going to use Goose Bay as an emergency landing area (which seems to be happening with some frequency), they would be wise to staff a few people on an on-call basis in the local vicinity and to contract with local inns, transportation, or perhaps homes too. After all, whether you are a top airline, hotel, or restaurant (which is not to say that United is a top airline although it should strive to be one), the measure of your greatness is how you *recover* from service failures (which can be defined however you want).

  52. Heat wasn’t provided because it was a steam system and it takes a few days to fire it up.

    Other barracks did have a more modernized HVAC system so heat was provided in there.

  53. Some of us are lovers of geographical accuracy. Why would anyone state without checking that “Goose Bay is in Quebec” or that “Newfoundland (and Labrador, presumably) is a Canadian Maritime province”? It calls into question the accuracy of every other detail provided. How long does it take to check? What are writers for?

  54. My god folks. You landed safely and had a roof over your head. Why did you not bunk in the heated huts? Did not want to share a room with someone princess??

  55. UA had no choice in cancelling 940 on the 13th. It’s aircraft was sitting on the ground in Goose Bay.

  56. Whoa.. someone missed the boat here besides United — what a perfect opportunity for a blogger to shill cards with travel delay protection, like Chase & Citi. Could have been good for a referral or two. I’m sure TPG wouldn’t miss such an opportunity! 😉

    @Toni: The issue wasn’t necessarily the lack of luxury accommodations as much as it was 100% radio silence from United to these stranded pax. Ideally, all of the crew should have stayed with the pax. It would have been uncomfortable, but would have built great goodwill and camaraderie, possibly even turned this into a real win for United.
    I was scheduled to be on a B6 flight out of RSW a few years back. Multiple delays @ JFK dragged the departure time later and later. The pilot, F/O and flight crew hung around the gate instead of huddling in the crew room, casually talking with pax in-between talking with company and making arrangements. They were very good about updating pax every 15-20 minutes of the current status and thoroughly explained what was happening. All of the restaurants at RSW (a medium size airport) were closed. The pilot ordered pizza from Papa John’s for everyone. +1 from me and many other flyers. When it was finally time to depart, everyone was in a reasonably good mood, fed, and happy.

  57. As Jay said, and many others on the flight said, the accommodations weren’t the real problem. The real issue was UA’s complete lack of communication. Yes, it also didn’t look good for the crew to go stay at a hotel either. If the crew had stayed with the pax, this could have been a major PR win. Instead, they blew it. Crew was selfish (or at least viewed as such), United was incompetent (appearances would be correct here).

    I find this to be the case with many airlines and delays, even with simple PA announcements in the terminals. Pax are much less likely to get upset/irate if they know and understand what’s going on.

  58. The last time I read about an aircraft that had a stuck rudder it was a few weeks after 911, for those who do not remember there were no survivors.The captain of this flight apparently did a heroic job because the passengers and crew are alive and well. It is sad that so many people on board that flight do not realize how lucky they really are.Instead many complain about the quality of their accommodation when they should be thanking God that they are alive.Have we as a people lost all sense of perspective?

  59. I was on that flight, it was about 10:30 when the lights inside the aircraft started going off and on while we were finishing our evening meal, an announcement from the cockpit informed all that there was a problem and it could not be corrected in flight and the pilot had made arrangments for us to land in Goosebay, we would be turning around shortly. The FA’s started picking up the trays and readinging the plane for a landing, I dont remember any emergency procedures being directed, we landed within an hour without incident. We sat in the plane for another hour before we were told to deboard and would not be getting our check in luggage, not good for me as I was in short sleeve shirt and shorts with sandals, they bussed us in school buses to a building used by customs to process our passports which they kept, then we were shuffled to another station to recieve our room information, back on the bus we go, incidentally it was snowing lightly and there was some residual snow laying around, the air temp was cold I knew that better than anyone else, we were taken to our billets area, you had to find your building number first then go inside and see what floor you would be staying on, I got into my room and immediatley turned on the heat it took a while for it to come up it wasnt like the most comfortable temp but I was grateful to be out of the cold air, I had a bed with sheets and a blanket which in all honesty did not keep you warm but was better than nothing, your own body heat plus a little extra made it bearable, but like anything else a nice hot shower was a added benefit, when I woke I was cold, but the heat was all the way up and another shower helped a little, waited til I was dry to go outside, was able to send text message on another persons computer to let someone know what was going on. Decided to walk around see if I could find anything as I had been in the military and knew they always had an exchange and sure enough I found it and bought ski pants and top and gloves and insulated boots to wear. Made my way over to the breakfast, plenty to eat and a selection of food, and yes the people I talked with from Canada were very accomodating and a pleasure to be hosted by, they knew how to make you feel special without being a burden, Im sure we stretched a few of the capacities to accomodate all of us but you wouldnt have known it by the way we were treated by our northern neighbors. Now….for UA….I am going to be as open and frank as I can and as honest as I can, I know we had a serious situation in the air and I dont take that lightly in anyway, but that emergency was dealt with once we got on the ground, being an ex commander in the military I know how important it is to keep people informed when in situations when the dynamics can change at a moments notice, no there wasnt any contacts personally at the airport, but you would think the airlines could have setup a Point of contact and provided a number and affored one employee to be on call to monitor us and keep us informed, something you have to account for is what if someone had gotten sick, or a heart attack or any other serious situation, we as passengers would have to rely on Goosebay to get to a hosital, provide a doctor or use thier best judgement in dealing with the situation and UA is still not responding, enough said, its pretty clear UA could have done alot more to provide support and information and get the passengers out of the dark, now I do appreciate that we had an experienced crew with a very good pilot who knew what to do I wish I could have thanked him personally, and I do appreciate that we got another plane to fly us on to our destination, which we all gathered at the messhall around 5pm and started busing to the airport to go through customs and get our passports back and turn in our room keys, then it seemed another hour or two before being boarded, we eventually took off and had uneventful flight which of course would have had to be a very serious problem to match what we had just went through, all in all being in Goosebay was somewhat of an adventure if you kept your wits and didnt get wrapped around the axle, we were accomodated and fed and I met some good people both on the ground and on the flight. As far as I remember we werent reimbursed for anything. This is a very late posting as I only found this out of curiosity, when it happened I had too much on my mind and never looked into what was put on the internet, thank you for letting me write this in detail and give another first hand look at what actually went on.

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