- A Delta flight was delayed by eight hours on Friday after it had to turn back to Atlanta.
- An air traffic control recording appears to show this was due to a passenger suffering diarrhea.
- Delta confirmed to Insider that the plane had to be cleaned after a “medical issue.”
A transatlantic Delta flight last Friday was forced to turn around after a passenger suffered a “medical issue,” which audio from the flight deck shows appears to be related to a passenger suffering diarrhea “all the way through” the aircraft.
The plane was two hours into the eight-hour journey from Atlanta, Georgia to Barcelona, Spain when it made a U-turn, per data from Flightradar24.
An audio transmission between the pilots and air traffic control was shared by an aviation enthusiast on X, having been recorded from LiveATC.com. It appeared to confirm that there wasn’t a technical problem with the Airbus A350.
“This is a biohazard issue,” a pilot can be heard telling air traffic control. “We’ve had a passenger who’s had diarrhea all the way through the airplane, so they want us to come back to Atlanta.”
A Delta Airlines Airbus A350 turned around back to Atlanta Friday night because of diarrhea throughout the airplane from a passenger and it’s a biohazard. 👀🥴
The FAA flight strip for DL194 was posted to Reddit (📷xStang05x) Also a passenger posted here asking why her son’s… pic.twitter.com/VWbkB47wF1
— Thenewarea51 (@thenewarea51) September 3, 2023
A picture uploaded to the ATC subreddit also purports to show flight progress strips related to last Friday’s incident. It says the flight was diverted to Atlanta due to “passenger diarrhea all over aircraft.”
Flight DL194 didn’t complete its journey to Barcelona until 5 p.m. the next day, eight hours later than it was scheduled to arrive, per Flightradar24.
It had already been delayed departing by two hours, before the incident onboard. But cleaning crews appeared to have sorted the problem, because the same plane was used for the second journey, Flightradar24 data shows.
Delta confirmed to Insider that a “medical issue” on board meant the plane had to return to Atlanta to be cleaned, though it did not confirm the nature of the issue.
“Delta flight 194 from Atlanta to Barcelona returned to Atlanta following an onboard medical issue,” a spokesperson for the airline said.
“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.”
Just three days before Friday’s diversion, eleven passengers on a Delta plane were hospitalized after a flight from Milan to Atlanta was hit by severe turbulence.