British Airways Flight Diverted from NYC to Philadelphia, Stranding Passengers Overnight

The Philadelphia Airport said the passengers cleared customs around 5 a.m.

ByEmily Shapiro
May 09, 2015, 7:59 PM
PHOTO: Twitter user ?@DeanieMan_TPS described the scene as a "refugee holding zone at Philadelphia airport."
Twitter user ?@DeanieMan_TPS described the scene as a "refugee holding zone at Philadelphia airport."
@DeanieMan_TPS/Twitter

— -- A British Airways flight from London to New York was diverted to Philadelphia Friday night, stranding passengers overnight on the plane and at the Philadelphia airport until customs officials arrived.

British Airways said the captain of Flight 183 decided to divert the plane because of bad weather at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport.

The Federal Aviation Administration confirmed that the flight made a missed approach at JFK around 10 p.m., where there was fog and low visibility throughout the night.

One passenger, who did not want to be identified by name, told ABC News the flight circled over New York for about an hour. Around 10:30 p.m., he said, they went into a final descent and the landing gear came down. The passenger was not sure if they touched down, but said the plane then took off again and landed in Philadelphia around 11 p.m. The passenger said the plane arrived at the Philadelphia gate at 11:30 p.m.

According to the British Airways flight status page, the flight arrival in Philadephia 11:32 p.m.

Frustrated passengers and family members -- including actor Jeremy Piven -- tweeted about being stuck on board.

The unidentified passenger said that, at 2:30 a.m., they were told to get off the plane because of FAA regulations. British Airways said 239 passengers were on board.

Passengers then spent several hours at the airport waiting to clear customs.

One passenger wrote on Instagram that waiting felt like "some evacuation refugee camp from Walking Dead."

"We were the only flight redirected here," the Instagram post said. "We were told to wait for the immigration staffs to come to work at 5 am according to their usual routines."

PHOTO: British Airways passengers were stranded in the Philadelphia airport Friday night. @dogearz wrote on Twitter, "#britishsirways flight 183 from hell."
British Airways passengers were stranded in the Philadelphia airport Friday night. @dogearz wrote on Twitter, "#britishsirways flight 183 from hell."
?@dogearz/Twitter

The Philadelphia Airport said the passengers cleared customs around 5 a.m. and then were bused to New York.

British Airways said in a statement: "We're very sorry for the delay to our customers' journey but safety is always our top priority. Our staff looked after them, rebooking those with connections and arranging bus transfers to New York. All of our customers are now on their way to their destinations."

Piven tweeted Saturday afternoon, "We all made the most of it, people dealt with in a calm way, thanks for your concern."

ABC News' Christopher Donato contributed to this report.

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