Passengers on board a United airlines flight from San Francisco, CA to Shanghai got an unexpected two-day layover in Anchorage, AK this week because the airliner's lavatories malfunctioned.
USA Today reports that, according to the Associated Press, the pilots of the 777 were notified that several of the airplanes facilities were not operating. They diverted to Anchorage, and waited on the plane for about two hours before being allowed to enter the terminal. Once there, the few United employees at Anchorage were swamped as they handed out 262 vouchers.
Once they arrived at the hotel, problems arose as many of the Chinese nationals on the flight did not carry credit cards which most U.S. hotels require to cover incidentals or possible room damage.
Eventually, United had to fly a replacement 777 to Anchorage so that the passengers could continue their flight, but it also had unspecified mechanical problems, so the airline was forced to dispatch a third 777 to Alaska. By now, the passengers were two days without their luggage, and some went to local stores for clean socks and underwear. One passenger said that had he know it would take two days, "we might have done a little sightseeing."
United said it plans to refund the passengers' tickets and will offer additional compensation.