Delta flight 3702 was scheduled to depart Detroit Metro at 2:15 pm on Wednesday and fly out to Westchester County, New York. After boarding, it left almost four hours later, and passengers were treated like the ignorant beasts that many of the larger US-based airlines consistently appear to consider them to be.
The unhappy travelers ended up having to wait almost four hours on the tarmac after the plane was found to be overweight. To make matters worse, according to passenger Michael Freund — an Israeli native visiting family in the US — the airline crew threatened to "involuntarily remove" passengers from the plane.
The crew asked 10 passengers to volunteer to deplane from the aircraft and be scheduled for a different flight. When not enough people volunteered to give up their seat, a crew member announced several times that the airline would then involuntarily remove people.
"This is a polite way of saying they will drag you off the plane. How else can one define that term?" Freund stated, cited by Detroit News.
A representative for Delta Air Lines, Kate Modolo, stated in an email that the plane had added additional fuel due to poor weather, which, in turn, added extra weight to the craft.
To make "weight adjustments," Modolo claimed that it was necessary for several passengers to deplane and be "accommodated on an alternative flight."
"Involuntary denied boardings are rare given Delta makes every effort to obtain volunteers for reaccommodation on alternate flights," she wrote, adding, "The weight and balance of the aircraft is a safety issue and a flight cannot depart if all safety requirements aren't met."
Passengers sat on the plane for some three and a half hours before being asked to deplane, ostensibly to lighten the aircraft through means other than removing passengers.
Shortly thereafter, however, they were told that they could reboard. The flight finally took off a little after 6:30 pm.
"People are absolutely furious at the way they kept us in the dark," Freund said. "The way they didn't let us know what was happening."