United Airlines Passengers Endure Nightmare Layover on Trip to Australia

After plane was diverted, passengers were forced to stay on the tarmac.

— -- Hundreds of passengers aboard a United Airlines flight to Australia experienced a 30-hour travel nightmare, with the plane diverted – and passengers forced to endure a lengthy layover.

The plane departed San Francisco at 10:30 p.m. Wednesday, en route to Sydney, with 251 passengers on board. The plane was diverted to Canberra, with the pilot blaming the diversion on debris on the runway.

After the plane landed in Canberra, the crew was unable to take off because the pilot exceeded his flying hour limit.

To make matters worse, the passengers weren’t allowed to enter the Canberra Airport due to customs and immigration issues.

Instead, the passengers were forced to stay on the tarmac – reportedly spending nearly four hours in their seats before crew allowed them to get off and get some fresh air. United Airlines gave the passengers snacks and drinks.

Some of the passengers wrote about their travel woes online.

More than eight hours after the plane landed in Canberra, a back-up crew arrived, allowing the plane to take off.

Flight UA 863 finally landed in Sydney at about 6 p.m. local time Friday, nine hours behind schedule – finally bringing an end to the travelers’ ordeal.