Another controversy is hitting United Airlines as a passenger captured video of fuel gushing out of the wing of a United plane at Newark Airport Tuesday. The plane, which was headed to Italy, was preparing for take off at the time when a terrified passenger noticed the leak. According to reports, passengers had to convince crew members the situation was an emergency.
Rachel Brumfield and her husband first noticed the problem. She told reporters, “I’m sitting and looking out the window at the wing, and all of a sudden fuel started shooting out of the wing really, really hard.” Rachel continued, “It was huge — it looked like a fire hose.”
Rachel began taking the video that eventually went viral.
— Rachel (@RachelEPas) June 14, 2017
Rachel’s husband, Mike, was trying to get the attention of the crew to let them know about the leak, but they yelled at him to sit down. ‘But something’s not right,’ he said. ‘Is it an emergency?’ According to Rachel the crew continued to blow off his warnings.
When crew members finally looked at the wings they determined the pilot needed to be informed. Moments later the plane’s engines went off, and fire trucks rushed in.
Rachel and Mike were thanked and invited into the cockpit, where they were given a glass of champagne. In a Twitter post, Rachel says, “But hey, at least we got a free glass of champagne.”
— Rachel (@RachelEPas) June 14, 2017
When the Brumfield’s showed the pilots the video of the fuel spill, “They just looked at the video and they all kind of looked at each other and said, ‘We’ve never seen anything like this,’” Rachel recalls. She says the United Airlines staff then asked them to “go easy” on the airline on social media.
After that, Rachel says they weren’t treated well at all.
The flight was canceled, and the Brumfield’s say the airline was having trouble finding them another flight that would allow them to board a cruise they were scheduled to depart on in Venice Thursday afternoon.
Eventually, a Delta flight was booked. Meanwhile. other passengers who were appreciative of the couple’s good deed, pitched in to help with limo rides and hotel rooms. United Airlines gave them nothing but a free food voucher.
“I will never fly United again,” Rachel said. She maintains that the airline wanted nothing to do with the couple, who obviously prevented a catastrophe. Rachel claims every person at United was awful.
United did not address the couple’s account of the incident, but spokesman Jonathan Guerin did issue the following statement:
“While taxiing to the runway yesterday evening, United flight 170 traveling from Newark to Venice, Italy returned to the gate due to a fuel leak, and was later cancelled. We apologize to our customers for the inconvenience. Our team helped provide customers with hotel accommodations for the night and are working to get them back on their way to Venice today.”
United Airlines has faced a lot of criticism lately, with multiple incidents tainting the reputation of the company.
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