LAKE ZURICH, Ill. (CBS) -– For Brent and Corey Stanley, a picture-perfect Paris vacation turned into an unbearable trip home over the weekend.
Their American Airlines flight was one of four flights stranded on the tarmac at Bradley International Airport near Hartford, Conn. as winter storms hit the Northeast.
“You felt trapped. You felt helpless like you couldn’t do anything, especially trying to get home to two kids,” Brent Stanley tells CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole.
A pounding Northeast snowstorm turned their nine-hour transatlantic flight into an almost 17-hour, unexpected ordeal. Their New York-bound flight was diverted to snow-socked Hartford, where customs crews were unprepared for the 300 international passengers.
They were kept from deplaning for nearly six hours, a wait annoying even the pilot.
“You could tell, throughout the whole time, every update, he was more and more frustrated about the lack of information they were giving him,” Stanley says.
The Stanleys used their iPad to Skype back home and exchange email. They shot cots inside the airport where they spent the night thankful for the little things.
“We had a candid, upfront pilot, we had a good crew that were giving us snacks every two hours like they were supposed to,” he says.
Brent Stanley has since learned this was a delay caused by an airport — not an airline. The “Passengers Bill of Rights” and its hefty fines have no jurisdiction in this case.
“We should have never been sent to Hartford,” Stanley says.
While stuck in Hartford, the Stanleys used their laptops and smart phones to book faster passage home to Chicago. Otherwise, they would have had to wait days for a seat home.