United Flight 170, a Boeing 767-300, was taxiing on the runway Tuesday evening when passenger Rachel Brumfield and her brand-new husband, Mike, on their way to Venice for their honeymoon, noticed that something appeared to have burst in the reserve tank of the left wing.
"I'm sitting looking out window at the wings, and all of a sudden fuel started shooting out of the wing really, really hard," Brumfield told the New York Post. "It was huge — it looked like a fire hose."
Brumfield says that Mike approached some of the crew to ask what was going on, but they "yelled at him" to sit down. "He's like, 'But something's not right,'" Brumfield said. "They said, 'Is it an emergency?' He said, 'I don't know,' so they said, 'Go sit down.' They said, 'Everything's normal,'" Rachel said.
United did not reveal what caused the spill, or how much fuel leaked out. Passengers were rebooked on future flights and provided with hotel rooms. The aircraft has been taken out of service.
Brumfield says that the airline crew asked the couple to show them the video they took. "They just looked at the video and they all kind of looked at each other, like, 'We've never seen anything like this,'" Brumfield said.
The Brumfields claimed that they ended up sleeping on the floor of the baggage claim area, as they never received a hotel voucher. Rachel said that United asked her to "go easy" on them on social media.
"I will never fly United again," Brumfield said. "Every person there was awful."
United issued a statement on the incident: "While taxiing to the runway yesterday evening, United flight 170 traveling from Newark to Venice, Italy, returned to the gate due to a fuel leak, and was later cancelled. We apologize to our customers for the inconvenience. Our team helped provide customers with hotel accommodations for the night and are working to get them back on their way to Venice today."