June 11, 2013 at 4:19 PM ET
Dripping with sweat, racked by nausea, Allegiant Air passengers stuck for hours on the tarmac in the 110-degree Vegas sun this weekend cut the tension by bursting out into a spontaneous sing-a-long to R. Kelly's "I Believe I Can Fly." Captured by passenger and YouTuber user "joeypancakes," who asked not to be identified, the video has been seen over 249,000 times since being uploaded Sunday.
Allegiant Airlines spokesman Brian Davis told NBC News that the plane didn't have any air conditioning running during the 2 hours and 40 minutes the flight was delayed on the tarmac due to mechanical difficulties. The plane has air conditioning at the gate and after takeoff, but not during taxiing.
The uploader, a 30-year old banker from Phoenix, Ariz, told NBC News she saw one passenger vomit and two passed out on the floor. Passengers took turns in groups of three and four fanning elderly passengers on blood pressure medication who complained of nausea. She said that the airline only passed out small bags of ice and that the airline didn't serve water until the plane was in the air, as, they were told, it would only delay the flight further.
That contradicts Allegiant's records, Davis said, whose reports indicate water and beverages were passed out multiple times to passengers. When the passengers deplaned from the first plane experiencing difficulties to switch into another plane, a snack table with soda, water and food was provided, Davis said.
The uploader told NBC News that the beverage table never materialized, just more sweltering heat and delays.
Though the video she took captured a moment of levity, it came at a critical point during the delay, 4 hours and 20 minutes in total, right after the plane had returned to the gate and 20 passengers took the opportunity to get off.
"It was a really intense moment," she said. "People were trying to get the flight attendants' attention because someone was laying on the floor. That got to be a little scary, because everyone is in this confined space and we didn't want to sit there."
At the point of peak anxiety, the groom in a bachelor party that had been out all night activated a portable "jam box" and began playing the "Harlem Shake" and got the whole plane to do the Harlem Shake dance. That's when Joeypancakes took out her camera and began recording, capturing the plane-wide singing session of "I Believe I can Fly."
"They had everyone laughing," she told NBC News. "They were like our comedic relief for the rest of the flight."
"While we're glad that our customers were able to make light of the delay by singing an R. Kelly song," said Davis, "we take these matters very seriously. Allegiant's top priority is the safety of each of our passengers and crew members, and we will always take a delay to ensure the safety of all involved."
"During the delay, our team members worked to make passengers as comfortable as possible by providing beverages and making use of available air conditioning, but extreme temperatures in Las Vegas made it difficult to keep the plane at a comfortable temperature while it was on the ground," said Davis.
"Mechanical delays are unfortunately a part of air travel."
That, and the $100 voucher the airline offered the passengers, are cold comfort to YouTube user joeypancakes, who says she won't fly Allegiant again.
"It wouldn't have been so terrible if it hand't been so hot," she said. "Everyone kept saying it's illegal to leave a pet in the car in the summer, so why are you leaving humans in a hot plane?"
The flight isn't the only one to have passed time on the tarmac through the power of music. Members of The Philadelphia Orchestra delayed on the tarmac for three hours last week while waiting for a flight from Beijing to Macao treated their fellow passengers to a pop-up concert.