Photo: Kamil Krzaczyński/Reuters
Passengers on a bumpy Southwest flight from Maryland to North Carolina described a horrific journey that left several travelers vomiting and stranded overnight at a closed South Carolina airport.
On Friday, at least two people aboard a Southwest flight from Maryland became ill after the plane shook violently on landing in Raleigh, North Carolina, due to weather-related problems.
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At least one passenger passed out after having a panic attack.
Passengers aboard Flight 3094 said their flight from Baltimore, Maryland, was delayed by almost an hour.
Around 9 p.m. Eastern time, as the flight bound for Raleigh began to descend, the plane experienced extreme turbulence, local news outlet WGHP reported.
“It was quite a horrible experience. We land in Raleigh and the plane starts shaking like crazy,” Nicholas Reed said, according to the WGHP. Reed, a native of North Carolina, was traveling with his girlfriend, Krys Spence.
Soon, Reed said, the pilot announced that the plane would make an emergency landing in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
A Southwest official at Myrtle Beach Airport said in a statement the emergency landing was necessary because poor weather conditions caused the plane to run out of fuel.
“We have made the decision to safely reroute Southwest Flight 3094 … due to weather conditions,” airline officials said, according to the New York Post.
The plane’s altitude dropped as low as 1,350 feet, WGHP reported.
After the plane landed in Myrtle Beach, passengers were told another plane would take them to Raleigh.
But, Reed said, passengers didn’t have their luggage or access to food because the airport’s vending machines and restaurants, along with much of the rest of its facilities, were closed.
Finally, around 1am, a second plane flew the group to Raleigh, where they landed around 4am.
“Coming back here to Raleigh… it was a really terrifying experience,” added Reed. “They didn’t offer us meal vouchers or anything like that. I thought we were flying southwest all the time.”
Southwest apologized for the inconvenience caused to passengers and referred those with concerns to their customer care team.
The troubled flight described by Reed was the latest travel problem to plague the budget airline.
In December, Southwest canceled thousands of flights, leaving customers traveling across the country for the holidays stranded without their luggage.
Southwest apologized for the mass cancellations and offered ticket refunds and other reimbursements for affected passengers.