PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Drivers and flyers have had to deal with a slow-down due to the heavy snow.
In one case, an airplane got stuck on the runway for nearly three hours at Pittsburgh International Airport Wednesday night.
This was kind of the icing on the cake for some. A few passengers KDKA-TV’s Heather Abraham spoke to experienced 30 hours or more of delays at various airports from the storm.
Snow was still an issue Thursday morning at Pittsburgh International Airport with maintenance crews clearing the way for departing and arriving flights.
Last night, airport officials said crews couldn’t keep up with the snow and ice and some passengers paid the price.
“We slid. You could actually feel the plane sliding,” JoAnn Ruffing said.
According to airport officials, as the American Airlines plane was taxiing around 8:20 p.m., it hit a patch of snow, which stopped the plane in its tracks.
American Airlines said the captain decided to stop as a precaution with snow and ice buildup around the landing gear. It wasn’t until close to midnight that passengers were bused off the plane.
“Somebody asked if they would get us a bus and get us out an hour-and-a-half before they did and got no response,” Ruffing said.
“At least within an hour they could have had it all set up and done with,” Amanda Sager said.
There were 140 passengers on the flight, coming from Dallas/Fort Worth.
Many passengers were upset by a lack of response as to why it took so long to get them off the plane and bused to the gate.
“We were left there for almost three hours,” Tamy Christ said. “I mean, it’s a comedy of errors. After a while you get mad. Then, you get real mad. Then, you get sad. Then, it’s just comical.”
Airport officials said several methods were used to try to clear the snow and free the plane, but ultimately, it’s up to the airline to make the decision to deplane.
American Airlines released a statement Thursday afternoon about the incident which said:
“American Airlines flight 1958, an MD80 aircraft, from Dallas/Ft. Worth (DFW) to Pittsburgh (PIT) landed safely at 8:24 Eastern Time. While taxing to the terminal, under instruction and guidance by the Pittsburgh tower, an inordinate volume of ice and snow accumulated in and around the landing gear and wheel wells. As a precautionary measure, the Captain requested maintenance and airport crews to remove some of the ice and snow buildup and clear the taxiway so the aircraft could proceed on its own power to the terminal and deplane passengers. Unfortunately, several attempts to clear the ice were unsuccessful and buses were brought out to the field where passengers deplaned via the aircraft’s stairs. Customers were safely bused to the terminal soon thereafter. We sincerely regret the inconvenience to our customers and apologize for the delay. The aircraft had 140 passengers and a crew of five.”