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Wednesday, August 19, 2020, 12:51
More than 120 Chinese stuck at New York airport
By Liu Yinmeng in Los Angeles
Wednesday, August 19, 2020, 12:51 By Liu Yinmeng in Los Angeles

In this May 15, 2016 photo, airplanes are seen at Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark, New Jersey. (SAUL LOEB / AFP)

More than 120 Chinese passengers were stuck at the Newark Liberty International Airport near New York City after they were prevented from boarding a United Airlines flight to Tokyo on Sunday.

The Chinese Consulate General in New York said it had coordinated with the relevant airlines to properly arrange the on-site placement of stranded Chinese passengers

United Airlines' UA79 flight was originally scheduled to depart from Newark to Narita International Airport in Japan at 11:30 am local time on Sunday, but it was delayed for hours after the airline alerted the passengers that it needed to assign a new crew member due to a "crew scheduling disruption this morning in Newark".

The plane took off about three hours after the scheduled time. However, more than 120 Chinese passengers were not allowed to board the plane because they would miss their connecting flights from the Japanese airport to the Chinese cities of Fuzhou and Hangzhou.

ALSO READ: Chaos and joy at Wuhan airport as doctors take first flights out

Under those circumstances, the passengers arriving at Narita risked being sent back to their departure place, the airline said in a statement.

The delay frustrated Chinese passengers, with many of them having flown to Newark from other parts of the United States after returning their apartments, and some visas are close to expiration, they said, adding some people had spent months in obtaining air tickets, and now it is nearly impossible to buy new tickets in a short time.

"Passengers stuck at EWR because of UA79 delay face a US$500 cancellation fee of their connecting flight. It's also almost impossible to get another recent flight back to China due to the high demand. No places to live, expiring immigration status. All because of UA delay," wrote Twitter user yixin, a ticket-holder on UA79.

Maggie, another passenger, said many people had flown from all over the country to New York to catch the flight and have no place to go.

"Please correct your mistake and take responsibility. We need to go home," she urged in a tweet.

"This is unacceptable. Due to many limitations, the plane ticket is very hard to get and very overpriced. Out of the 120 passengers, many are from all parts of the United States. There are helpless children and elders that are stuck in the airport," wrote Allen Weng, another Twitter user.

"We're sorry for the inconvenience and are working to get these customers to their final destination as soon as possible," the airline said.

READ MORE: Additional flights arranged to bring citizens back home

14-day isolation in Japan

Japan's border control measures stated that it will deny entry to foreign nationals who have been in the US in the 14 days before their arrival in Japan.

The Chinese Consulate General in New York said it had coordinated with the relevant airlines to properly arrange the on-site placement of stranded Chinese passengers. While meeting the various epidemic prevention and control requirements, it has assisted the airlines in contacting relevant parties and is working to advance follow-up arrangements.

Xinhua contributed to this story.


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