Allegiant Air passengers upset after being left on TYS tarmac

Allegiant Air passengers upset after being left on McGhee Tyson tarmac for 3 hours

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Passengers say they were headed from Orlando to Lexington when the plane was diverted to McGhee Tyson Airport. Passengers say they were headed from Orlando to Lexington when the plane was diverted to McGhee Tyson Airport.
"No one was telling us anything," Nira Combs-Fiala said. "No one was telling us anything," Nira Combs-Fiala said.
"They turned around and re-routed us to Knoxville," said Doug Yazell. "They turned around and re-routed us to Knoxville," said Doug Yazell.
The passengers were finally allowed to get off the plane and go into the airport The passengers were finally allowed to get off the plane and go into the airport

By DREW GARDNER
6 News Reporter

ALCOA (WATE) - What should have been a quick flight from Orlando to Lexington turned into a much longer journey.

Passengers on an Allegiant Air flight to Lexington, Ky. want answers after their plane was diverted Thursday night to Knoxville. The passengers were kept on the plane on the tarmac for three hours with conflicting answers.

"We tried to land in Lexington, but we couldn't land in Lexington so they re-routed us to Knoxville," said passenger Nira Combs-Fiala.

Passengers say they were headed from Orlando to Lexington when the plane was diverted to McGhee Tyson Airport.

When they arrived at the airport, that's when the confusion really began.

"As soon as our plane landed the stewardesses ran to the emergency doors and opened them up and this mechanic ran through the aisle," said Combs-Fiala.

Passengers say they received conflicting reports about why they were re-routed, including bad weather, mechanical problems and that the runway lights were out in Lexington.

"About every 25 to 30 minutes they were waiting for a weather report, fuel, we would be taking off shortly, that sort of thing," said Doug Yazell.

But 30 minutes came and went and it eventually turned into several hours.

"We sat on the tarmac for three hours with mechanical people running in and out the back of the plane," said Combs-Fiala.

"It seemed like the longer we waited the more tense it got," added Yazell.

"The captain had to come on and say 'Hey, I am the captain and what my stewardesses tell you is what we're doing,'" said passenger Jerry Applegate.

The unhappy passengers say they were left on the plane from 9 p.m. to midnight without any food and were given little water.

"No one was telling us anything," Combs-Fiala said. "The kept telling us we're going to refuel and we're going to leave, we're going to refuel and we're going to leave. But it never happened."

The passengers were finally allowed to get off the plane and go into the airport, but were unable to get their bags or any information on the situation for another hour.

Eventually passengers were put up in a hotel and told to book new flights Friday morning. The passengers were given hotel vouchers, but had to find their own way there. 

For some passengers that seemed enough, but for others the damage was already done.

"Not very happy," said Combs-Fiala.

Yazell added, "I think all these people here would like to be compensated some way or another."

"No, I'm not that happy, but I'm happy to be alive and safe and everybody is safe," said passenger Jolene Fullerton.

An Allegiant Air spokesperson told 6 News they were diverted to Knoxville because of weather, but were having a problem with a fuel pump on one of the tanks so they asked the mechanics to check it out.

She said they were on the tarmac for a little under two hours because there was, "no one from TSA at the station to process the passengers."

Passengers tell 6 News they were rescheduled for an 11:30 Friday morning departure on the same plane. They were assured everything was working correctly.

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