Passengers spend night on plane

August 10, 2009 7:19:16 AM PDT
Regulations kept 47 passengers confined in a small ExpressJet airplane -- bound from Texas -- for nine hours at the Rochester, Minn., airport. Passenger Link Christin says the ordeal was a nightmare.

The flight left Houston about 9:30 p.m. Friday and was scheduled to arrive in the Twin Cities by midnight, but the plane diverted to Rochester because of thunderstorms.

ExpressJet spokeswoman Kristy Nicholas says by then, the flight crew had reached maximum work hours, so another crew had to be flown in. Nicholas says allowing passengers into the terminal wasn't possible because security screeners had gone home for the day.

Christin says as time elapsed, the smell of overused bathrooms and babies on the plane grew worse.

At daybreak, passengers were allowed in the terminal, only to board the same plane again for the flight to the Twin Cities.

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