Vacationers’ flight from Charlotte diverted due to strike at Jamaican airport

CHARLOTTE — A flight from Charlotte Douglas International Airport bound for Jamaica was diverted after the airport on the island suddenly closed, due to air traffic controllers going on strike.

Several passengers on board were frustrated they didn’t make it to their final destination at the Montego Bay Airport.

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Susan Corcoran’s flight to Jamaica took off at about 7:30 a.m. Thursday.

“This was a gift from my husband,” Corcoran said.

Her excitement on the American Airlines flight turned to disappointment as they approached Montego Bay.

“The pilot comes on and says that we are having to do an emergency landing in Miami and they’ve closed the airspace in Jamaica,” Corcoran said. “It was going to be a different flight number to come back to Charlotte, so it took seven hours for them to give us all new boarding passes.”

An American Airlines representative said the pilot had to divert the flight to Miami because the plane did not have enough fuel to make it back to Charlotte safely.

“(There were) a lot of people that (were) upset, very upset, passenger Brittney Edwards said.

Edwards and Courtney Delaigle said their plane didn’t get to Charlotte-Douglas until after 11 p.m.

“It was a very unfair situation,” Edwards said. “I’ve never been treated like this by any airline, ever.”

They spent 16 hours traveling just to land back in the Queen City.

“For them to just basically treat us like trash and we didn’t even get to enjoy our vacation,” Delaigle said. “It was just like a slap in the face.”

They said their luggage was in Montego Bay, despite their flight never landing there.

Edwards, Delaigle and Corcoran said they are trying to get refunds.

told me they’re all working on getting refunds.

“I’m a firm believer that things happen for a reason and there was a firm believer I was not meant to be on that flight going to Montego Bay,” Corcoran said.

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American Airlines said it added extra flights to Jamaica Friday to make up for canceled trips the day before.

A representative said refunds for the three passengers Channel 9 spoke with are in progress.

He added that their bags are back in Charlotte except for one.

Statement from AA:

“Due to the temporary closure of Jamaica’s airspace, American canceled all operations for Thursday, May 12 at both Kingston (KIN) and Montego Bay (MBJ). Our team is closely monitoring the situation and is actively working to assist impacted customers.”

“Operational impact: For KIN, cancellations included three arrivals and two departures, and for MBJ, nine arrivals and 10 departures. American resumed full operations, including additional capacity, to MBJ and KIN today.”

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