Stranded passengers return to Chicago after 30 hour delay

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NORTHERN IRELAND --Passengers on a diverted flight to Chicago finally returned home Sunday night, nearly 30 hours after their scheduled arrival.

Their United Airlines flight from Rome to Chicago was forced to divert to Northern Ireland after a passenger became unruly.

Belfast International Airport Constabulary said in a statement Sunday that the man with dual Italian and American nationality is also set to be charged with disruptive behavior on board an aircraft and common assault.

Airport officials did not elaborate on what the passenger is alleged to have done, nor did they offer any other personal details about him.

The flight landed at Belfast International Airport where police escorted the man off the plane.

The airport says he was removed "without further incident."

The flight was grounded overnight due to crew issues.

Passengers say they sat on the plane until midnight. They were then moved to the arrival area of the airport and given blankets, muffins and coffee.

They say they were not offered hotels and instead slept on the floor of the airport.

Passengers say they were not given access to their bags, toiletries, or showers.

A spokeswoman from United says they will refund the Rome to Chicago segment of the tickets to passengers, as well as offer them a travel certificate or miles for future travel with United. She released a statement saying, "United flight 971 from Rome to Chicago, a Boeing 777-200 with 269 passengers and 14 crew members, diverted to Belfast yesterday because of a disruptive passenger who was removed from the plane. The crew then reached its maximum duty time, leading to the flight’s cancellation. Hotel space was not available, so we provided customers accommodations at the airport, including food, beverages and blankets. We understand the inconvenience this causes our customers and will accommodate them on a flight scheduled for today at 4 p.m. local time from Belfast to Chicago."

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