A Delta Air Lines flight from Atlanta to Barcelona was forced to make a U-turn just two hours into its eight-hour flight to Spain after a passenger reportedly suffered diarrhea ‘throughout the plane’.
Radio communications between the pilots of Delta flight DL194 and air traffic control confirm that there wasn’t anything technically wrong with the six-year-old Airbus A350 operating the service but that an immediate return to Atlanta was necessitated due to other reasons.
“It’s a biohazard issue,” one of the pilots tells air traffic control. “We’ve got a passenger who’s had diarrhea all the way through the airplane so they (Delta) want us to come back to Atlanta,” the pilot continues.
The September 1 flight had already departed from Atlanta two hours late but only made it as far as Virginia before turning back towards Georgia, according to flight tracking website Flight Radar 24.
It looks like the cleaning teams did a good job at clearing up the mess, however, as the same aircraft was then used to get the 336 passengers to Barcelona with an unscheduled departure from Atlanta at nearly 3 am on September 2.
In the end, Delta flight 194 didn’t make it to Barcelona until 5 pm on Saturday, more than eight hours late. Unfortunately, a video of the inside of the airplane has now emerged, although we’ve decided not to publish it as it’s pretty gruesome.
Late last year, a British Airways flight from London Heathrow to Lagos, Nigeria, had to be scrapped after a passenger deliberately stripped naked, defecated on the floor and smeared his own faeces into the curtains while running at other passengers.
The suspect was apparently due to be deported after being refused entry to the United Kingdom, but attempted to stop his removal by disrupting the flight.
An entry in the plane’s logbook explained what happened: “During boarding, passenger stripped from (the) waist down and defecated on rear galley floor. He sat in it and rubbed it into galley floor and aisle carpets.”
Unfortunately, the sickening episode got even worse: “He walked in it (his own excrement) and started running up aisle… He smeared his arms from hands to elbow in faecal matter and aggressively ran at other passengers, flicking faecal matter around and up door 4, over seats as he went”.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Delta told us: “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 thoroughly clean the airplane and get our customers to their final destination. We sincerely apologize to our customers for the delay and inconvenience to their travel plans.”
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.