American Flight Runs Out of Airsickness Bags, Diverts to Uruguay on Christmas

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.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. From this day forward, air sickness and all related needs will be referred to as “diverting to Uruguay”.

    “Had the fish…if my stomach keeps grumbling I might need to DTU.”

  2. With all of the loop-de-loops on the flight path, I might guess the passengers got dizzy. That combined with AA food served probably triggered more of this than they are letting on. Did the airline charge for additional baggies, or for disposing of used baggies, or both? That could explain the reason for the diversion and sitting on the runway “until a gate was available.”
    In all seriousness, I watched the movie Gravity during a Korea to DFW flight and we had minor turbulence during several of the scenes when the spacecraft was getting knocked and rocked around while changing orbit. It gave new meaning to 3D movie going.

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