Airline: Refunds for All, Not Just Dance Judges

"We clearly failed this on your flight," CEO says

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Some passengers got a personal apology from Virgin America's CEO after a long delayed flight.

    Among the passengers on the flight was "Dancing with the Stars" judge Carrie Ann Inaba. She wrote on her Twitter page that Cush called her personally to apologize.

    "Thank you Virgin America for restoring my faith in your care for your customers," Inaba wrote. "Everyone gets refunded!!!! Yay!!!!!"

    Thing were getting back to normal for Inaba by Tuesday. Exhibit A: "When life gives you lemons - make lemonade!!! ; ) yum yum yum!"

    That's good advice.

    As for Flight 404, it left Los Angeles International Airport at 7:10 a.m. Saturday and was scheduled to arrive at New York's JFK Airport at 3:30 p.m. Eastern time. That didn't happen.

    Stormy weather forced the flight to be diverted to Stewart Airport about 90 miles north of New York, where it landed at 5:15 p.m. Some passengers contend they were kept on the plane until almost midnight, although the airline said it was about 4 1/2 hours.

    One person aboard the plane told the New York Post that flight attendants were rationing supplies, distributing four Pringles chips and a half-cup of water to each passenger. Another said a flight attendant snapped at the frustrated passengers, with one being told to "shut the hell up."

    The Virgin America flight crew eventually contacted JetBlue, which has facilities at Stewart Airport. JetBlue then provided buses that carried the passengers to JFK. The New York Post reported that the passengers arrived at about 2 a.m. Sunday, New York time.

    Virgin America CEO David Cush sent an apology letter to each of the passengers, promising to refund their fares and giving them credit for a future flight.

    "We pride ourselves on putting the well-being of our travelers first and making sure than, in stressful situations, we put our guests at ease," Cush wrote in the letter, according to a story on the ABC News Web site. "We clearly failed this on your flight."

    According to Virgin America spokeswoman Patricia Condon, five additional cases of water were brought onto the plane, and all passengers on the flight were given the ability to leave at any time. She said about 20 of the 126 passengers did so.

    "After reviewing the particular circumstances of this diversion, we agreed that we needed to have done a better job with communicating a difficult situation to our guests," according to an airline statement. "