Well somebody's lying: Virgin Atlantic says it had to keep passengers on a hot airplane for 4 hours on the tarmac because a Customs official demanded it, reports AP. The pilot says he called upon landing at the Connecticut airport and was told passengers would be arrested if they disembarked because there weren't enough immigration officials on duty. A Customs spokesman denies it and says no request was made to let the passengers out.
Regardless of who said what, the passengers baked on the plane, without food, and a handful fainted. The federal rule requiring passengers to be freed after 3 hours didn't apply because it was an international flight, notes AP. It was supposed to land in Newark but got diverted by storms, possibly explaining the short-staffing. A passengers' rights advocate wants federal officials to go through the cockpit recordings to get to the bottom of it.
(Read more Virgin Atlantic stories.)