Delta flight makes U-turn after passenger has ‘diarrhoea all the way through the plane’
A Delta Air Lines flight from Atlanta to Barcelona was forced to turn around over what one of the pilots described as “passenger diarrhoea… all the way through the plane”.
Flight 194 was two hours into its 8 ½-hour long journey on Friday evening when the pilots told air traffic controllers they were turning back.
“Divert to ATL – passenger diarrhoea all over aircraft – biohazard,” the captain said in a text message.
In an audio recording from air traffic communications site LiveATC.net that appeared on social media platform X, one of the pilots could be heard saying: “It’s just a biohazard issue.
“We had a passenger who had diarrhoea all the way through the plane, so they want us to come back to Atlanta.”
An account of what happened was posted on X under the account Thenewarea51.
One of those who commented, Dee W, claimed her partner was on board, and recounted telling her: “It was pretty bad. It was dribbled down the aisle, smelled horrible.”
A vanilla-scented disinfectant was supposedly used, but “it only made it smell like vanilla s***”.
Mr John Hurdt, who said in the same X thread that he and his wife were on the flight, described what happened as “a mess”.
He said the pilots made the right call to turn around.
“The ground crew ripped out the carpet and put new in. Considering the circumstances, the ground crew did a great job, along (with) the attendants and the pilots,” he said.
In a statement to the Insider website, Delta confirmed there had been a “medical issue” on board that meant the plane had to return to Atlanta to be cleaned.
“Our teams worked as quickly and safely as possible to thoroughly clean the aeroplane and get our customers to their final destination. We sincerely apologise to our customers for the delay and inconvenience to their travel plans,” the airline said.
Citing her partner’s account of what happened, Dee W said a sick passenger was taken off the plane, and that the aircraft was cleaned and disinfected for about five hours.
“The plane was cleaner when they got back… No smell either,” she said.
The plane landed in Barcelona eight hours behind schedule.
A similar mess raised a stink for passengers on a flight of a different airline in July.
In that incident, a journalist recounted how he had to endure the smell of rotting blood mixed with traces of faeces during a seven-hour Air France flight after the airline’s crew failed to thoroughly clean up when a passenger on a previous flight suffered a haemorrhage.