CLEVELAND – Some Northeast Ohioans made it home just in time to ring in 2014 after a flight delay kept them in Arizona for an extra night.
“I don’t know what they can even do about it, but we paid the price for it,” said Rick Milligan from Bay Village.
He was with his wife and two children in Phoenix for Christmas. On Monday, their return flight was canceled after it was delayed for several hours. According to Milligan, they were told a dirty diaper went down the toilet.
“They didn’t tell us what it was right up front, but the word started slowly leaking out, I shouldn't use that word with what we're deeming ‘diaper gate’,” said Milligan.
“I don’t think anybody should be that ignorant that they would put a diaper down the toilet of an airplane,” said Greta Bonne from Chagrin Falls.
She was returning from a long-awaited vacation with her three children when it was extended an extra day. “Me and three kids - our first ‘major’ trip home - anywhere, anywhere in the U.S.,” said Bonne.
A United Airlines spokesperson won’t confirm how many people were impacted by the delays and cancellation, but they said the ‘blockage’ left the lavatory unusable and the plane couldn’t fly as scheduled.
“[They gave] interesting updates, too,” said Milligan. “It was, well, we think we found the diaper and removed it but there’s still fabric in the plumbing and I couldn’t believe it.”
Most passengers on a layover were rebooked onto other flights. Some, like those trying to go direct to Cleveland, were given hotel rooms and put on a flight Tuesday morning.
“[We’re] real happy to be home, although we looked out the window - we came from 70 degrees and it’s 20 here, but hey it's home and that's what counts,” said Milligan. “Looking forward to the new year.”
The United spokesperson said this kind of problem is not a common occurrence.