On Christmas Eve, American’s flight from Dallas to Buenos Aires ran into trouble on final approach. As it prepared to land in Buenos Aires, weather forced it to divert to Montevideo.
In fact, passengers spent Christmas Day in Uruguay instead of in Argentina.
Turbulence was so bad as the plane tried to land in Buenos Aires initially that perhaps half the passengers on the plane threw up and the aircraft ran out of airsickness bags.
And there was reporedly a lightning strike as well.
The diversion to Montevideo took a little over half an hour. Here’s what the the plane’s route looked like:
One passenger comments,
I was among the 50% that didn’t vomit (barely). I don’t believe that the situation was dangerous for the integrity of the plane, but sure it was horrible. Especially because the turbulence, quite strong to begin with, lasted more than 1 hour!!! (from half of the descent to half of the diversion to Montevideo). The go-around in the middle of all that was a quite intense experience too.
On arrival in Montevideo the plan was still just to wait out the storm. However they discovered a problem with the aircraft, so they waited for a tow to the gate since they deemed air stairs unsafe in the wet weather. However they had to wait out the lightning for a tow.
American Boeing 777-200 Business Class
Delayed flights waiting for takeoff got priority, so after waiting even longer on the plane passengers were finally able to disembark four and a half hours after they had been scheduled to land in Buenos Aires. They spent their Christmas in hotels there, and continued to Argentina the next morning.