NEW YORK (PIX11) – A delayed flight caused Hawaiian Airlines passengers to be stranded at JFK Airport for more than 30 hours, according to two sources at the airport on Wednesday. 

Jeff White, who identified himself as a flight passenger, told PIX11 News he and hundreds of other passengers have been stuck at John F. Kennedy International Airport for more than 33 hours.

“It’s been a circus,” White said. “There are small children … elderly people, and mothers with newborns who were unable to retrieve their baggage due to this delayed flight.” 

White said he and fellow passengers have been shuffled between gate 18B and A9. He also claimed the only compensation they received was a $12 food voucher. 

White said the airline would not give passengers their luggage back so they could get on the next flight to Hawaii and would not exchange the tickets for another company.

Passengers were told the cause of the delay was a problem with the aircraft involving toxic air flowing through the vents, according to White and another passenger who did not want to be named.

Hawaiian Airlines provided the following statement regarding the cause of the delay:

On Tuesday, July 18, our crews reported an odor during a pre-departure cabin check of HA51, prompting a thorough inspection of the aircraft by maintenance. Troubleshooting of the issue continued into this morning, causing our flight crews to exceed their maximum number of legally allowed duty hours and require[ed] them to return to the hotel for rest. Today’s HA51 operated as scheduled. Yesterday’s flight will now operate as HA1051 and is expected to depart in the next 30 minutes. The safety of our guests and employees is our highest priority. We deeply apologize for the inconvenience and we’re working to get our guests safely to their destination.

Hawaiian Airlines

A spokesperson for Hawaiian Airlines also said staffing on the ramp at JFK affected their ability to retrieve guest luggage from the aircraft. The spokesperson added that the airline is determined to make things right and will be working directly with affected guests.

A spokesperson with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey told PIX11 that individual airlines are responsible for baggage repatriation.

“This is supposed to be Hawaiian Airlines. They are supposed to get us to the land of aloha,” White said. “Instead people have lost wages, income, and vacation time. I was sitting next to a family whose daughter was in tears. Their experience has been ruined.”