Bad weather in Colorado caused a flight to be delayed for six hours on Friday, while passengers were forced to share one toilet between them as they were trapped on the tarmac at Colorado Springs Airport.
The United Express flight from Kansas City to Denver was diverted to Colorado Springs and remained there due to lightning.
Passengers on the flight complained of the "foul" bathroom which ran out of supplies.
According to the Daily Mail, Colorado Springs Airport officials said airline bosses could have docked the plane for just $73.
An airport spokesperson told CBS Local that the plane had plenty of room to taxi back to the terminal but a miscommunication by the airline left it sitting there for hours.
Passenger Lisa Davis told CBS Local: "I was sitting across the aisle from a pilot who was travelling as well and he told me in the beginning that it was three hours was the most they could keep passengers on a plane."
In a statement to NBC News, Republic Airlines, operating as United Express, said: "Republic apologises for the inconvenience, but as always, the safety of our customers and crew is always our #1 priority," the company said in a statement, adding that United is reaching out to passengers to offer compensation."