A Delta Airlines Airbus A350 made an unexpected return to Atlanta only two hours into its journey to Spain due to an unforeseen medical emergency onboard. However, this wasn’t your usual medical situation – this was an incident involving an uncontrollable bout of diarrhea.
The Unpleasant Incident Aboard Delta Airlines
On a seemingly regular flight from Atlanta to Barcelona, an unforeseen medical emergency led to an unexpected turn of events. An ailing passenger, struggling with sudden diarrhea, inadvertently created a messy trail in the aisle of the aircraft. Images and footages emerging on social media platforms displayed the grim aftermath of this incident, providing a real-time glimpse into the unexpected ordeal faced by passengers and crew alike. The airline’s maintenance team had a monumental task ahead as they took on the five-hour cleaning process post the Airbus A350’s sudden landing. A significant part of their cleanup involved replacing an entire section of the ruined aisle carpet.
Crew and Passengers’ Immediate Response
Amidst the chaos, the cabin crew and fellow passengers showcased commendable resilience and understanding. Eyewitness accounts from those onboard, shared on platforms like X (formerly Twitter), depicted the flight crew making earnest attempts to clean up. Using available resources like paper towels and scented disinfectant, they aimed to provide immediate relief from the mess. However, these well-intentioned efforts led to a rather pungent mix of aromas, leading one passenger to humorously describe the scent as “vanilla shit.” To manage movement within the aircraft, cabin crew laid an absorbent paper runner over the affected aisle area. Consequently, departing passengers in Atlanta had to navigate carefully, sometimes climbing over seats to avoid the contaminated area.
The Decision to Return to Atlanta
An audio clip posted to X provided more insight into the decision-making process behind the abrupt U-turn. In conversation between pilot and air traffic control, pilot cited biohazard issue as primary motivation behind diversion from flight path; pilot also alluded to severity of incident when discussing incident: stating, ‘we had passenger who had diarrhea all through airplane so they want us back to Atlanta.” A Federal Aviation Authority flight strip also corroborated these extraordinary events.
Airline’s Response to the Incident
Delta Airlines responded swiftly and responsibly, attributing their unexpected turnaround to an “onboard medical issue”. Their statement emphasised passenger safety and convenience as their teams took swift actions: “Our teams worked as quickly and safely as possible to transport customers safely to their final destinations and we regret any delays or disruption to your travel plans,” read their official statement.
Air Canada was caught unawares in another embarrassing episode during this trip from Seattle to Montreal: two passengers complained they were being seated near vomit-covered areas and were promptly removed from their flight.
Both incidents underscore the unpredictable nature of air travel and the commendable efforts by airlines and their crew to manage challenging situations with grace and professionalism.