A meltdown is a term used to describe when an airline’s operations come to a screeching halt. But for our context today, meltdown takes on another meaning: passengers becoming ill on a Delta Air Lines 757 baking in the hot afternoon sun in Las Vegas during an extended flight delay.
Delta Airlines Las Vegas Meltdown: Passengers Faint In Heat Onboard Sweltering 757 Jet
On Monday July 17, 2023 passengers boarded Delta flight 555 from Las Vegas (LAS) to Atlanta (ATL). It was 114ºF outside. Due to a missing crew member, passengers sat waiting onboard the Boeing 757-300 aircraft for four hours.
Passengers were not held as prisoners onboard, but were strongly advised to remain onboard so that the flight could leave as soon as the missing crew member showed up. Everyone did.
Until it became unbearable after the third hour.
Although the aircraft was at the gate and hooked up to an auxiliary power unit in order to cool it, passengers reported the plane became sweltering hot. How hot?
Passengers onboard reported the heat as “sweltering.” Some passengers vomited. Others used oxygen masks. Another hour passed and the paramedics were brought in. Several passengers and at least one flight attendant were removed from the aircraft on a stretcher.
One passenger posted the following video:
— Krista Garvin (@Kristaanngarvin) July 18, 2023
I want to be careful not to sensationalize the story, but what was Delta thinking? Sure, most passengers seemed to be doing okay, but it also sounds like it was a sauna-like situation onboard.
With at least one crew member becoming ill, the flight was ultimately canceled. Delta has apologized for the situation:
“We apologize for the experience our customers had on flight 555 from Las Vegas to Atlanta on July 17, which ultimately resulted in a flight cancellation. Delta teams are looking into the circumstances that led to uncomfortable temperatures inside the cabin, and we appreciate the efforts of our people and first responders at Harry Reid International.”
It really boggles my mind how this delay became so grievous in the first place. I understand that sometimes crew members call in sick and a last-minute replacement is needed. But doesn’t Delta have a reserve base or a system in place to know when that crew member is coming so as not to keep passengers waiting on a hot plane in 114ºF heat for 40 minutes?
As One Mile At A Time wryly noted, “If you’re waiting to deplane passengers until the first group of people pass out, you’ve waited too long…” Yep.
A delayed Delta flight in the midst of summer heat in Las Vegas resulted in at least five passengers and a flight attendant being removed from the 757-300 in a stretcher. This really gives a whole new meaning to the word meltdown in the context of the aviation industry.
image: Tomás Del Coro