Despite the sweltering heat, cooler heads prevailed when a plane full of people stranded the Las Vegas airport Sunday showed their frustration not through angry words but with a song.
A YouTube video submitted by a user called “joeypancakes” shows a group of passengers on Allegiant Air flight 592 from McCarran International Airport to Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport in Mesa, Ariz., in a sing-along to R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly.”
The flight, scheduled to leave at 11 a.m., was delayed when a passenger became ill. Passengers were moved to another jet, and that one was delayed after leaving the gate with a mechanical problem.
Because the plane had pulled away from the gate, the air conditioning could not be activated. Temperatures were close to 100 degrees at the time.
While awaiting action, the YouTube video shows a passenger holding a portable stereo over his head and passengers waving their arms to the music and singing along with the song.
“Mechanical delays are unfortunately a part of air travel,” Allegiant spokesman Brian Davis said in a statement.
“On Sunday, our flight from Las Vegas to Phoenix-Mesa experienced a series of mechanical and medical issues, ultimately resulting in a 4 hour and 20 minute delay. 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. 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.”
Davis said during the delay, the plane’s crew worked to make passengers as comfortable as possible by providing beverages and making use of available air conditioning.
“But extreme temperatures in Las Vegas made it difficult to keep the plane at a comfortable temperature while it was on the ground,” Davis said. “We're sorry for the difficult travel experience and have already provided each passenger with a $100 credit for future travel.”
Las Vegas-based Allegiant is frequently criticized for late departures and not having enough spare planes to manage mechanical delays. Its fleet of twin-engine MD-80 jets are among the oldest in the industry.