Passengers who were stuck on a Las Vegas tarmac in two different planes for more than four hours made the best of a simmering situation by joining in to belt out lines of R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly.”
Frustrated passengers on Allegiant Air flight 592 bound for Phoenix Sunday were stuck on the tarmac with no water and no air conditioning for more than an hour and a half as the temperature reached a scorching 100 degrees under the Nevada sun.
“With no water, I just honestly didn’t think they cared about the well-being of the customers,” passenger Jenisis Altamirano told ABC News affiliate KNXV-TV in Phoenix.
Altamirano said passengers were eventually put on a second plane, which became stranded on the tarmac because of its own mechanical issues. That plane remained grounded for more than an hour and that’s when R. Kelly’s 1990s hit-song took on a whole new meaning for the stranded passengers.
A video posted on YouTube by Dustin Kaelberer shows one passenger blasting the song from a portable music player. Many passengers took part singing the lyrics while others waved their hands in the air.
But the situation turned serious when a female passenger ended up in the aisle, with breathing difficulties.
“We were trying to fan her to keep her from passing out,” Altamirano said.
Allegiant issued a statement to ABC News, saying mechanical delays are unfortunately a part of air travel.
“While we’re glad that our customers were able to make light of the delay by singing an R. Kelly song, we take these matters very seriously,” the airline said. “Allegiant’s top priority is the safety of each of our passengers and crew members, and we will always take a delay to ensure the safety of all involved.”
Altamirano said the two plane changes and hours of delays could have all been avoided with some common sense from Allegiant Air.
“As soon as they knew there was no air flow, they should have got people off that plane,” she said.
Allegiant said “extreme temperatures in Las Vegas” made it difficult to keep the plane at a comfortable temperature while on the tarmac.
“During the delay, our team members worked to make passengers as comfortable as possible by providing beverages,” Allegiant added.
Federal regulations require that an airline provide sufficient food and water if passengers are stuck on the plane for more than two hours. Planes are supposed to return to the gate to allow passengers to exit the aircraft if tarmac delays exceed three hours.
After more than four hours and a few choruses of R. Kelly, the Allegiant Air flight finally arrived at the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport.
Each passenger was given a $100 credit for future travel, according to Allegiant.
By coincidence, a three-hour delay on a tarmac in Beijing Friday prompted members of the Philadelphia Orchestra to break out their instruments for an impromptu concert, much to the delight of passengers. Click here to watch the video.