PLYMOUTH, Conn. (WTNH) — It was the trip of a lifetime for one family from Plymouth. But their journey to Italy was nothing short of a nightmare. 

“If it wasn’t for the flight part, it would have been even better,” said Michael Ieronimo, of Plymouth. 

Michael and Christine Ieronimo said they spent years saving and planning for the trip. The family from Plymouth was on a United Airlines plane on July 3rd, ready to take off from Newark to Rome, but they never left the tarmac.

“The pilot said there seems to be electrical problems, we need to go back and have the mechanics look at it,” said Christine Ieronimo, of Plymouth.

Ieronimo said only a few people did as they thought take off could be imminent. They waited on, what they said was, a hot plane for seven hours with passengers pleading for answers.

“I actually went to the flight attendant and said, this is unhealthy!” said Christine Ieronimo. “You have to do something. Pass out water, pass out snacks.”

But they said the flight crew didn’t.

“I don’t have claustrophobia, but after that many hours, you feel trapped,” said Michael Ieronimo.

They said one person did pass out and another passenger sent a photo to News 8 showing her grandmother checking her blood pressure.  Finally, they said the flight was cancelled.

“We were trapped on that plane for seven hours, in 70-plus heat,” you hear Christine Ieronimo say in a now-viral TikTok video. “Treated like animals!”

A video, which shows Christine Ieronimo surrounded by other passengers demanding action, has gone viral on TikTok.

“If the CEO, Scott Kirby, if his parents were on the flight and had gone through that, would he have done nothing?” Christine Ieronimo asked.

According to United’s Tarmac Delay Contingency Plan (link:

  • Passengers shall have the option to deplane an aircraft when there is an excessive tarmac delay (three hours for domestic flights and four hours for international flights, which was the case for the Ieronimo family).
  • United will provide adequate food and potable water no later than two hours after the tarmac delay, unless the pilot-in-command determines that safety or security considerations preclude such service.

They said they’re still fighting for accountability and to recoup the money they lost on both the original trip and the new flights they had to book.

“We had to book a one-way to, and then once it was cancelled on the way home, we had to book a one-way back,” explained Christine Ieronimo. “Plus, hotel, plus food, plus the day that we lost. I had about an extra $4,000 in expenses and United basically said they can’t reimburse me for that.”

United Airlines released the following statement to News 8:

On July 3, United flight 40 returned to the gate at Newark Liberty to address a temperature issue. Once there we offered customers the opportunity to deplane and later provided snacks and beverages. Our crew eventually exceeded their legally permitted duty hours and we had to cancel the flight. We regret we couldn’t provide our customers a better travel experience and offered compensation in the hopes of having an opportunity to welcome them back.

FAA directed us to the U.S. Department of Transportation for further information.  The DOT said they take violation of airlines’ tarmac delay obligations very seriously and is investigating the referenced incident.