Delta Air Lines passengers took to social media to vent their frustrations with the airline after they found themselves unexpectedly stranded for over 12 hours this weekend on an island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.
Just a few hours after taking off from Ghana on Friday, Flight 157 was diverted from its New York destination to the island of Terceira after a “mechanical issue with a backup oxygen system,” a Delta spokesperson told Insider.
The 215 passengers spent much of their time on the island without food, water, or updates from staff, according to accounts posted by several passengers on social media.
One passenger, Nana Asante-Smith, wrote on Facebook that she and her fellow passengers experienced a “reckless disregard for human life and well-being.”
The hundreds of stranded travelers—most apparently lacking the visas required to move freely around the island and airport—were corralled in a a partitioned portion of the airport, Asante-Smith wrote.
At the same time, Delta staffers were whisked away to a hotel—the last time passengers saw the airline’s representatives during the ordeal, according to Asante-Smith.
“We were abandoned by Delta and treated like encroaching roaches by airport representatives on Terceira Islands,” she said.
For hours, passengers had to drink water from bathroom faucets until a cafe opened later in the day, Asante-Smith wrote, adding that some ham sandwiches were later distributed to the dissatisfaction of many Muslim travelers with dietary restrictions.
Another passenger, Kiaundra Eggleston, backed up Asante-Smith’s account in a post, describing the waiting area as “purgatory.”
Airport representatives told upset passengers to avoid starting a “revolution,” Asante-Smith said.
Eggleston said she was told by a staff member to be grateful her plane hadn’t crashed into the sea.
This female rep told us we should be grateful that they allowed us to be here and our plane didn’t crash in the sea pic.twitter.com/AwOR2jPp2I
— Kiaundra Eggleston (Smith) (@KiaundraSmith) September 9, 2023
After their half-day stay in the cramped island airport, passengers were eventually put on a flight to JFK. Upon arrival in New York, travelers said they were left to fight for reimbursements and restitution for the ordeal they had experienced.
“We were met with lamentations about the airline being overwhelmed and fruitless reminders to save receipts for reimbursement,” Asante-Smith said.
Delta told Insider that passengers were eventually issued refunds.