Passengers stranded after broken bolt grounds jet

Passengers stranded after broken bolt grounds jet

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Photo: © Pat Flynn 2015

An airline will have to fly passengers from Shannon to London today so that they can get connecting flights to the U.S. after their original flight was cancelled yesterday.

167 passengers had already boarded United flight UA-24 at Shannon Airport and were due to depart for Newark, New Jersey at 8.00am.

The aircraft didn’t leave the gate and the passengers remained on board for almost 90 minutes until the crew confirmed that the flight had to be cancelled.

According to one passenger: “We sat there for over an hour and then they told us there was a bolt broken and that we have to get off again.”

The Boeing 757-200 jet had arrived from Newark at 5.25am however while the crew was making preparations for the return leg, the mechanical issue was discovered. The plane was later grounded and the airline forced to cancel the flight.

The passengers were take to a hotel in Limerick but as of 4.00pm yesterday they had still not been told when they would continue their journey.

Speaking at the Radisson Hotel in Limerick, one passenger said: “We just don’t know and no one appears to know. There was talk of a flight to London Heathrow and a connecting flight from there but nothing has been confirmed. We have other connecting flights to get in the US and we have already missed those.”

An airline spokesman said: “United Airlines flight UA24 from Shannon to New York/Newark was cancelled due to a mechanical issue. The necessary maintenance work could not be completed before the crew exceeded their legally permitted duty hours.”

“Our customer service team at Shannon Airport is providing assistance to customers and is making arrangements for them to complete their journeys. We are providing our customers with meals and overnight hotel accommodation. We apologise to our customers for the inconvenience caused,” the airline added.

The airlines website showed three flights from Shannon to Newark today two of which will travel via London Heathrow.

It’s now understood while today’s daily scheduled flight UA-24 will operate as normal, passengers affected by yesterday’s cancellation will have to fly to London with Aer Lingus to connect with scheduled United services from Heathrow to Newark.

When asked about passenger having to be flown to London to catch connecting flights, United would only say: “We are making arrangements for all our customers to complete their journeys.”

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Chief Reporter Pat Flynn has worked as a journalist for almost 30 years. His career began during the late 1980s when, like many aspiring radio presenters of the time, he worked for local pirate radio stations in Clare and Limerick. Pat joined Clare FM in 1990 where he worked as researcher initially and later presented several different programmes including the station's flagship current affairs programme. He was also the station's News Editor and Deputy Controller of Programmes. Despite leaving in 2003 to pursue a career as a freelance journalist, he continues to work with the station to this day. As well as being the Clare Herald’s Chief Reporter Pat is also freelance journalist and broadcaster, contributing to Ireland’s national newspapers and is a regular contributor to national broadcasters.

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