By Mark Memmott

Refunds and vouchers for future flights.

That's what Continental Airlines has offered to 47 passengers who had to sit for six hours in a cramped commuter plane that smelled like dirty diapers and had a toilet that was flowing over. There wasn't any food or water.

The story of what happened to travelers on a Houston to Minneapolis flight Friday night is ricocheting across the news media universe. The plane was diverted to Rochester, Minn., because of bad weather. Then it sat.

"It was almost a surreal quality that kind of developed during the night," passenger Link Christin told the Associated Press. "It felt like you were trapped in a cave underground."

The airline says passengers weren't allowed off because there were no security screeners on duty at the terminal. But the Pioneer Press says that excuse might not hold up:

"For the life of me I don't understand why they didn't come to the terminal," said Steven Leqve, manager of the Rochester Airport. Even in the overnight hours on Friday and into Saturday, Delta Air Lines had three people on site and the airport had one employee there as well, he said.

Stories like this pop up several times a year. They're always followed by vows from the airlines that it won't happen again.

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categories: National News

9:00 - August 11, 2009