Reporting Mike Xirinachs
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — If you’re planning on flying on United Airlines Wednesday, get ready to wait.
Thousands of passengers were grounded after the carrier pulled its entire fleet of Boeing 757s out of service.
United made the voluntary call to ground all 96 planes late Tuesday after discovering it hadn’t properly followed FAA guidelines in checking modifications to air data computers which measure everything from air speed to air pressure.
The fix takes 60 to 90 minutes and involves installing new circuit breakers and wires to ensure the flight crew can override erroneous speed and stall warnings.
It’s caused widespread delays and cancellations, sending many passengers at LaGuardia Airport to hotels instead of their destinations.
“They instructed us that something was wrong with the airplane and that we’d be off shortly. An hour later they came back and said, it’ll just be another hour. Meanwhile, every other flight that we possibly could have got on left,” passenger Will McCloud said. “We’re out $400 on ski tickets.”
McCloud ended up heading to a hotel and hoped to fly out Wednesday morning.
Another passenger, Kayla Lembo, described the situation as “frustrating. Tiring.”
Joseph Rodriguez and his friends were supposed to be heading home to Montana, but instead they were heading to a Queens hotel after their flight was grounded. “It makes for a really long day. We’ve been here for five hours. Pretty frustrating.”
Nevertheless, he added it was better to be safe than sorry.
“I prefer them to ground a plane than something happen,” he said.
The last grounding of a major airline for maintenance violations was in 2008 when American grounded almost 300 of its MD-80 fleet because of improper modifications to electrical wiring. Delays lasted days and affected more than 300,000 travelers.