Passengers upset after hours on grounded plane

HOUSTON – Passengers on a United Airlines flight said they were stuck on a grounded plane for hours, but the airline said they could have left any time they wanted.

The problem began around 8:30 p.m. Wednesday when a maintenance issue with the plane's air conditioner was reported at Bush Intercontinental Airport.

The plane was heading to Nigeria from Houston.

Passengers said they were stuck on the flight, without A/C, for about three hours.

"I was supposed to be boarded since 6:30 p.m. This is quarter to 12 a.m. and we're still sitting down here," a passenger said.

"They pulled out the plane. Halfway, they called the plane back. They told us it was the air conditioner. (They're) going to fix it. Not even cold water they could have offered us. We asked for water, they giving us at room temperature," another passenger said.

A spokeswoman for United Airlines told Local 2 that the more than 250 passengers could have gotten off at any time to use the airport's facilities.

Authorities said when passengers finally came off the plane, they were met by Houston police officers with K-9 dogs.

Officials said the officers were there because of an apparent disturbance during the wait.

The spokeswoman said the flight was eventually cancelled because the flight crew would have gone over their max flight time.

Takeoff was rescheduled for 11 a.m. Thursday.