Virgin America Flight's Grueling Delay Compounded by Surly Staff

A cross-country flight turns into a massive delay for passengers.

ByABC News
March 16, 2010, 11:21 AM

March 16, 2010— -- The low point in a hellish 19 hour Los Angeles to New York flight during the last weekend's storm came when the cabin crew came through and offered the starving passengers a choice of meals: either four or five Pringles or a tiny cup of almonds.

The passengers aboard Virgin America's flight 404 were among the most put upon victims of this weekend's torrential rain storm.

The flight left California at 10:34 a.m. ET on Saturday and was due to land at New York storm lashed JFK airport at 3:35 p.m. ET, a five hour flight.

But it wasn't until 2 a.m. Sunday when the hungry, thirsty and exhausted passengers finally arrived in New York -- by bus.

During the ordeal, the passengers were given water and some Pringles. And plenty of guff from the plane's crew.

"We were diverted and everyone was fine about that. It's just a bummer," passenger David Martin told ABC News.

"But the flight crew started to freak out, to have some problems with how they were dealing with the passengers on the flight...Basically they ended up snapping at passengers when they tried to get off," Martin said.

"One of the flight attendants told a passenger to 'shut the hell up' and that they were 'getting on their nerves.' It wasn't that 'oh god were stuck in the plane for hours.' It was how the flight crew was handling the situation. They were not handling it well at all," he said.

Uana Coccoloni was posting on Facebook during the ordeal.

"Can't get off, they won't taxi to the terminal so that we can get out, no food and we are going to JFK no matter what time it can't be okay to have people sitting on the plane for 4 hours and what will likely be many more. Aren't there laws about this? VA gets a big thumbs down today," she posted.

Coccoloni went back to venting about 30 minutes later, writing, "Virgin....I've now been stuck on the tarmac for 4-1/2 hours. Don't you think you should let us out??"

Law student Justin Gordon said hunger and thirst began to take its toll.

"People just started to get upset," Gordon told ABC News. "There was no food, no water for like two and a half hours. One of the flight attendants walked by...I said, 'Excuse me,' he didn't respond. I said excuse me again and then he finally looked at me and I said 'You know, I'm really hungry. I haven't eaten since this morning is there any food that I can buy or anything?' He said 'No…sorry, there's no food.'

"And then about a half hour later they came around with little cups with about four or five Pringles in them and maybe a different one with 10 almonds and a little cup of have a choice between Pringles or a tiny cup of almonds," he said.

Virgin America CEO David Cush sent an apology letter today to each of the passengers and promised to refund their fares. He also called passengers including Martin and "Dancing with the Stars" host Carrie-Ann Inaba, who was also on the flight.