Passengers aboard a SkyWest flight to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, were stunned Tuesday when, an hour from reaching their sunny vacation destination, their pilot turned the plane around due to ‘paperwork issues.’
Flight 4507 departed Salt Lake City International Airport just after noon Tuesday, carrying 57 travelers en route to the popular resort town on the Pacific Ocean.
But less than two hours into the three-hour flight, a pilot’s voice came over the intercom to announce that the small Canadair jet will be returning back to Utah.
‘It’s something that we wouldn’t have known what to do as pilots as far as this airplane not being allowed to land in Mexico,’ the crew member uttered over the PA system, according to a cellphone video obtained by KSL.
The pilot explained to passengers that he could not land in Puerto Vallarta. Instead, he said the plane will be diverted to Tucson, Arizona, to be refueled before returning to Salt Lake City.
‘Again, we do apologize,’ the pilot said over the intercom to 57 disappointed passengers.
Casey Boyd, from Denver, was flying to Mexico on vacation with his wife and child when their plans were unexpectedly derailed by an unspecified clerical error.
‘No, it sounds pretty unbelievable,’ Boyd said. ‘It doesn’t sound like maybe the whole story.’
A spokeswoman for SkyWest Airlines stated that Flight 4507 landed in Salt Lake City at around 6pm to correct a ‘paperwork issue.’
The unfortunate travelers were offered free hotel rooms for the night, issued vouchers for food and other expenses, and rebooked on another flight departing Wednesday morning.
‘We apologize to those customers we’ve inconvenienced and are working to get them on their way as quickly as possible,’ the statement read.
The airline representative did not specify the paperwork issue that kept the SkyWest plane from landing in Mexico Tuesday.
Casey Body said that before takeoff Tuesday, the gate agent said the flight was overbooked because they were using a smaller plane than originally planned .
It has been suggested that perhaps the replacement plane did not have the right documentation to touch down in Puerto Vallarta, but no one noticed the mistake until it was too late.