Over 150 WWE Superstars, production crew, and employees landed at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York at 12:21PM ET, bringing an end to an over 40-hour saga that saw the majority of those who participated in Crown Jewel getting stuck in Riyadh. The flight took 23 minutes taxiing in the middle of the night at the King Khalid International Airport and the 3:52AM planned departure was delayed a further one hour and six minutes to add some more nerves to everyone on board.
The whole ordeal started when Atlas Air flight 8185 was ready to taxi to bring everyone home following Crown Jewel but the plane was not given permission for take-off, with WWE claiming mechanical failure. Around 20 individuals from the plane then booked a different charter to try to make it to Smackdown on time as the crew had already spent six hours sitting in a plane that wasn’t moving.
Those 20 individuals, including 12 talent, managed to leave Saudi later but their flight did not land in time for Smackdown either. Vince McMahon and his executive staff got outta dodge before everyone while Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman departed on their private jet and Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair used a different private jet headed to Tampa.
The rest of the crew checked back in a hotel, some voicing their frustrations on social media, with plenty of food going around to try and elevate the obviously low morale around camp.
The same flight that was supposed to take everyone to Buffalo was then changed to land at JFK since there was no point in going to Buffalo for Smackdown. JFK, being a much larger airport, gave everyone a better opportunity to connect to other flights to go home, although many will now remain in New York for Raw on Monday as the show is from Uniondale.
The non-stop flight aboard the Boeing 747-400 took 14 hours and 23 minutes and traveled 6,875 miles.