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Spirit Airlines flight from Las Vegas slides of tarmac as it taxis to gate at BWI

Airplane passengers describe experience of skidding off tarmac
Posted at 6:39 PM, Dec 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-17 18:39:04-05

LINTHICUM HEIGHTS, Md. — One passenger says it felt like hydroplaning in a car but in a plane after a flight from Las Vegas to Baltimore slides off the tarmac.

Officials haven't said if weather conditions were responsible for the incident, but many drivers faced slippery roads on their Thursday morning commute.

Spirit Airlines flight 696 from Las Vegas arrived at BWI around 6:15 Thursday morning, but it slid off the taxiway on its the way to the gate. No one was injured but many passengers say they were shaken by their experience.

Anyone who's flown on an airplane, has heard flight attendants make the announcement after landing 'to stay seated with your seatbelt fastened until the plane reaches the gate.' Early Thursday morning, travelers on Spirit Airlines flight 696 from Las Vegas to Baltimore found out why; their plane didn't make it to the gate.

Passenger Alexis Aquiningoc from San Diego said “it was just a sudden abrupt stop, that woke me up and scared me. We had been flying all night, so it was kind of a different experience.”

As airport fire and rescue crews arrived on the scene, Devan Burris from Las Vegas found herself more curious than scared.

“Pretty run of the mill flight until we landed, as we were turning a corner, there was a bit of a jolt, and the whole flight just stopped all of a sudden. I looked out. I was on the left side of the plane. I looked out the left side of the window and we were in the grass,” Burris said.

Spirit Airlines released a statement which read “after safely landing and entering the taxiway this morning, the nose wheel of Spirit Airlines flight 696 slowly slid onto the grass while turning a corner and taxiing to the gate. All 111 guests and team members are safe and were transported by bus to the terminal.”

It was a terminal in which many passengers were anxious to get to, including Alexis Aquininoc from San Diego.

“The plane landed about 6:15 and we didn't get off until about 8, 8:30,” Aquininoc said.

“That in between time, it was just a lot going on, babies crying, everybody irritable, we'd been on this plane all night,” Aquininoc added.

“I mean it was nerve wracking realizing when we were just sitting there for an hour, not hearing anything. Nobody telling us what was going on, or when we were going to get off, or when we were going to get our bags, or anything like that,” Burris said.

While Burris didn't feel frightened by what happened, she did feel something else.

“I was a red-eye flight anyway, and I’m going from west coast to east coast, so I haven't slept. I don't think anybody slept, and then dealing with this on top of everything, is exhausting” Burris said.

Some passengers say they're just visiting for the holidays, and will return home after their vacation is over, but will Aquininoc fly again after this?

“No, I don't think so. I’ll greyhound it back to California,” Aquininoc said.