Barcelona-bound Delta Air Lines Flight 194 was in the air for about two hours when it had to turn back on Friday evening reportedly because of a passenger’s digestive distress.
An audio clip that purports to be the pilot speaking on the radio to air traffic control was shared on social media and succinctly described what apparently happened.
“It’s just a biohazard issue. We’ve had a passenger who had diarrhea all the way through the airplane, so they want us to come back to Atlanta.”
A man who said he was on that very plane explained the following on Twitter:
“Both my wife and I were on the flight. It was a mess. The pilots made the right decision 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 the attendants and the pilots.”
Without providing specific confirmation of what occurred on the Airbus A350 with 300-plus passengers that was diverted back to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, Delta did release a statement:
“Delta flight 194 from Atlanta to Barcelona returned to Atlanta following an onboard medical issue. Our teams worked as quickly and safely as possible to get our customers to their final destination. We sincerely apologize to our customers for the delay and inconvenience to their travel plans.”
After the original flight was scrubbed, as it were, Delta reportedly reboarded the passengers and crew on the aircraft, which made it to Barcelona without any further turbulence, albeit about eight hours late.
Another Twitter user relayed this eyewitness narrative:
“My partner was on that flight! It was pretty bad. It was dribbled down the aisle, smelled horrible. The vanilla scented disinfectant used on it only made it smell like vanilla s***. After the plane landed, it was thoroughly cleaned. They didn’t leave until around 2:30 am.”
Whether the traveler with the gastrointestinal issue also continued on that flight to Europe is unknown at this writing. Hopefully that person is back in good health.
Commercial air traveler has become metaphorically crappy, what with, for example, long security checkpoints, cancellations and missed connections for various reasons, sardine-like seating, and passengers acting out at the gate or on the plane, but this incident appears to be a whole new “departure.”