Paraplegic Passenger Blasts JetBlue’s Snow Response

Jimmy Brown’s flight was one of 23 jetliners forced to land in Connecticut.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    You may have heard about the plane full of passengers left for hours on the tarmac in Hartford over the weekend. But you probably haven't heard from the man credited with bringing the ordeal to a close. NBCNewYork's Chris Glorioso brings us the story. (Published Tuesday, Nov 1, 2011)

    Jimmy Brown has learned to deal with a good bit of inconvenience.  

    Since a diving accident left him paralyzed from the waist down several years ago, the 32-year-old from Staten Island’s Huguenot neighborhood has used a wheelchair.  

    Before he boards an airplane, he doesn't drink water because airliner bathrooms aren’t generally wheelchair accessible.

    On Saturday, Brown was aboard JetBlue Flight 405 when the plane was diverted from Newark to Hartford’s Bradley International Airport amid a freak October snowstorm.  

    After the jet landed, Brown and more than 100 other passengers sat trapped in the cabin for at least eight and a half hours before they were allowed to deplane.

    “I flipped out on the plane and used some vulgarity. I made some comments saying how I need to get off the plane. 'This is way too long. I can’t sit here anymore. I have bad circulation,'” Brown told NBC New York.

    Brown’s flight was one of 23 jetliners forced to land in Connecticut because the storm forced traffic away from New York City airports.   

    As the smaller airport struggled to find resources and accommodate the unexpected planes, Brown says he was left to languish in a stuffy cabin while his wife watched him suffer.

    “She saw what her husband went through. 'He can’t get the circulation he needs. He needs other people to get up and then he gets humiliated on a plane. He’s got to pee in his own seat,'" Brown said of his wife. "I mean, this stuff is terrible.”

    JetBlue said in a statement that "we would have preferred deplaning much sooner than we did, but our flights were six of the 23 reported diversions into Hartford, including international flights. The airport experienced intermittent power outages, which made refueling and jet bridge deplaning difficult."

    The airline said it will refund the fares of the stranded passengers.

    Two days after the tarmac trouble, Brown said he had yet to receive a personal apology from JetBlue.

    "I got a $30 voucher from McDonald’s. That’s about it," Brown said. "So if that’s the thanks they were looking to give, they can keep it.”