More than 200 United passengers spent the night in Tokyo Airport. Learn why.

A United Airlines 777 diverted to Tokyo on Monday, stranding travelers. Photo: Konstantin von Wedelstaedt/Wikimedia Commons

A United Airlines 777 diverted to Tokyo on Monday, stranding travelers. Photo: Konstantin von Wedelstaedt/Wikimedia Commons

Think you have a bad delay story? This one is probably worse.

More than 200 passengers flying from Shanghai to Newark on United Airlines spent Monday night in the terminal at Tokyo Narita International Airport, after their Boeing 777 stopped there for a medical diversion. It landed at 8:41 p.m. on Monday.

Passengers were not permitted leave the terminal for a period United estimated would be nearly 24 hours. They couldn't leave the airport and go to a hotel because they weren't able to clear immigration in Japan. From what I understand, this was a bureaucratic problem, not a United one. 

Crew, however, was allowed to leave. Pilots and flight attendants were permitted go to a local hotel and rest, per federal guidelines, so they could fly the aircraft on Tuesday.

United did what it could to keep customers comfortable. 

"We did apologize to our customers," United spokesman Luke Punzenberger said. "We will re- accommodate them on a flight later today [Tuesday]. We will also offer customers goodwill compensation as we hope they will give us another chance to earn their business."

If you were stuck at Narita Airport for 24 hours, what would you do? Might you find a way to have fun? Or do you have a similar airport delay story? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

Also, in the unlikely case one of our readers was on the plane, let us know how it went.  

UPDATE: Last I checked, the new flight was scheduled to leave Tokyo at 2:05 p.m. on Tuesday. So not quite a 24-hour delay.