United Airlines B737 runs out of fuel after 6 hours of taxiing on the runway

On August 22, United Airlines flight 1910, operating the New York-Denver route, encountered a chaotic situation when it had to taxi on the Newark Airport apron for more than 6 hours until it had not enough fuel to fly to the scheduled destination. Unlike the average taxi time of fewer than 30 minutes, United’s Boeing 737-900ER reportedly spent over 6 hours taxiing on the New York apron without flying anywhere. It eventually became a no-go flight after the flight crew exceeded their maximum allocated hours. Passengers waited over 8 hours before the flight got canceled.

Chaos for United Airlines passengers

On Monday, Boeing 737-900ER UA1910 bound for Denver International Airport was scheduled to depart Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) at 15:10 local time. Due to inclement weather conditions brought by lightning and thunderstorms, the flight got delayed and didn’t take off for nearly 3 hours. Complying with the regulations that allow aircraft to stay a maximum of three hours at a time on the tarmac, the aircraft returned to the gate after taxiing for around 3 hours.

The New York Times reporter Hiroko Tabuchi, the passenger on Flight UA1910, took to Twitter to share her experience where she mentioned that her flight out of Newark taxied on the apron for over 6 hours and later no longer had enough fuel to get to the destination airport.

Upon arrival at the gate, the airport staff informed passengers that they could proceed to freshen up if necessary, yet the plane wouldn’t hesitate to leave them behind if they were late. Little did they know, they would stay on Newark apron for over eight hours.

After the initial delay caused by weather, the aircraft taxied again for another three hours hoping to depart Newark Airport but still, to no avail. Unable to take off, the flight spent more than six hours on the tarmac and became devoid of adequate fuel to fly to Denver Airport. Boeing 737 ran out of fuel to make it to Denver and was forced to return to the terminal for refueling. As per the announcement of the aircraft captain, Newark ATC had devised a longer flight path to Denver to get rid of poor weather, which, together with six hours of taxiing, meant they had to refuel the plane to continue flights to its scheduled destination.

Disembarking and re-boarding

After a hectic delay on the tarmac, the frustrated passengers disembarked when the aircraft returned to the gate for refueling. There would be reboarding once the jet was refueled. However, while the aircraft was refueling, disembarked passengers received the notification of flight cancellation on the carrier’s app. Nonetheless, the confused crew members told passengers to reboard the plane, and once passengers were finally seated, the aircraft was ready for takeoff again. The flight crew had begun taxiing until they were met with further delays and remained on the apron for the next two hours, culminating in a total tarmac time of over eight hours.

Flight canceled as crew logged in allocated hours.

Passengers had re-boarded, and the aircraft had enough fuel, but the flight couldn’t take to the skies. The flight had to be canceled as the crew members had logged in allocated flight hours. With the crew clocking out, the plane headed back to the gate a final time for disembarking, which took another half an hour.

Hiroko Tabuchi posted another tweet reporting that the flight was canceled after 8.5 hours on the Newark tarmac and a series of disembarking, reembarking, and refueling, which eventually led to nowhere.

“We are heading back to the gate a final time. This time, it’s the crew-they’ve clocked out. ‘I’ve run out of apologies,’ the pilot just told us”, another tweet said.

It’s reported that the only refreshment for passengers throughout this lengthy eight-and-half-hour delay was a cup of water and a wee packet of Biscoff cookies. Hirako took an Amtrak train to Philadelphia the following morning and got herself a flight to Denver the following morning.

On the day of this event, i.e., August 22, there was an average delay time of 37minutes across the United States, of which weather contributed a major percentage (i.e., 92%).

 The UA1910 remained on the ground while the new flight UA1690 performing the Newark-Denver route, took off from the New York skies successfully. The flight duration between two domestic US routes is around 4 hours.

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