Passengers on a Delta Airlines flight from New York to Los Angeles endured a mind-boggling delay of almost 18 hours before finally getting off the ground Thursday morning.
Flight 975 was supposed to take off at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday from John F. Kennedy International Airport and appeared to be routinely late, not pushing out of the gate until 4:27 p.m., according to data from airline tracking service FlightAware.
But Flight 975 never took off Wednesday and passengers said they were boarded and re-boarded at least twice and never offered lodging for the night, according to passenger Emma Slater, a dancer on "Dancing with the Stars."
"Disgraceful," Slater tweeted with video of the gate area filled with frustrated travelers.
Passenger Eloise Moran summed up her experience to NBC New York: "It's literally been hell."
Flight 975 finally went wheels up at 10:01 a.m. ET Thursday and landed in Los Angeles at 12:29 p.m. PT. Delta blamed weather for the monster delay.
"Delta apologizes to customers on Flight 975 operating from NY-JFK to Los Angeles, which was delayed last night due to weather in New York," Delta said in a statement. "Customers were offered water and snacks, pillows and blankets in the terminal, and the flight departed at approximately 10am for Los Angeles this morning."
But FlightAware Vice President Matt Davis said there were no weather conditions out of JFK on Wednesday that would have forced significant delays or cancellations.
"From what I’m seeing out of yesterday, there was nothing out of the ordinary at JFK," Davis told NBC News.
There were originally 198 travelers on Flight 975 and 116 of them were still on board when it finally took off on Thursday, Delta said.
One notable passenger among those delayed was Tina Knowles-Lawson, the mother of singer Beyoncé.
In 18 hours, a traveler from New York could get to Hong Kong or fit in three one-way flights to and from the West Coast.
"I live on this plane now. I have forgotten what the world outside this plane is like," passenger Matthew K. Begbie tweeted. "Babies have been born. People have died. The world turns on but flight 975 is forever."
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