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100 Sun Country passengers endure 6-hour wait

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Two weeks after passengers were stranded on a Minnesota tarmac for almost six hours, more than 100 Sun Country passengers in New York waited that long for their Twin Cities-bound plane to depart.

      Flight 242 was supposed to take off from New York City on Friday about 11 a.m. local time. But passengers say the plane didn't start boarding until about noon, and didn't take off until after 6 p.m.

      Travelers were told that construction would cause an hour delay, and were later told weather would delay them even longer.

      "It was a nightmare," passenger Gary Kurth of St. Paul said. "They should give us a free trip."

      Sun County chief executive Stan Gadek said in a statement Friday the airline regretted the delay and would issue refunds.

      Passengers said the flight crew eventually brought out the food cart after three hours, and passengers had to pay for the items.

      The food cart wasn't much consolation to passenger Paula Welch of Shakopee.

      "I was sitting in the 17th row, and all the food was gone," she said.

      The flight from John F. Kennedy Airport to the Humphrey Terminal at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport lasted 2 1/2 hours.

      Gadek said pilots and dispatchers followed procedure and worked with controllers on the ground to get the situation fixed as quickly as possible.

      "Our flight crew did everything in their power to make the passengers as comfortable as possible and to keep them informed," he said.

      The incident marked the second lengthy delay in two weeks for Minnesota-bound planes.

      Severe thunderstorms forced a Continental Express flight from Houston to Minneapolis to land in Rochester, where 47 passengers were forced to sit on the tarmac for almost six hours. That incident triggered a Department of Transportation investigation.