DL194, you’re number two for landing.
I’ll avoid further puns and get to the point: I feel horrible for everyone involved in a Delta Air Lines diversion over diarrhea. The crew, the sick passenger, and the other passengers onboard. What a sad situation. But Delta deserves some praise as well.
Diarrhea Forces Delta Flight Diversion
On Friday, September 1, 2023, DL194 departed Atlanta (ATL) for Barcelona (BCN). The flight was operated by an Airbus A350-900 aircraft (registration code N570DZ) and departed about two hours late (unrelated issue).
While over the Commonwealth of Virginia, the plane made a u-turn and returned to Atlanta. Why? Per the electronic flight strip (EFS):
“Divert to ATL — passenger diarrhea all over aircraft — biohazard”
It appears that a passenger had some incontinence issues, could not make it to the lavatory, and ended up spreading fecal matter literally throughout the passenger cabin. Listen to the ATC audio below:
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
I have a dear friend who recently dealt with this sort of thing and had his own issue on a Delta flight, though thankfully not that severe. Sometimes diarrhea simply erupts…asking whether the passenger should have known better than to get on the aircraft is likely the wrong question, especially if food poisoning was involved.
The impressive part of this story is that Delta managed to find a new crew and get the flight (same aircraft, after a deep cleaning) back in the air. DL194 took off at 2:57 am (after arriving back in ATL at 10:57 pm). Not bad at all. The flight arrived into Barcelona at 5:10 pm, eight hours late.
Any diversion is regrettable, but at least this was not an unruly passenger – just an incontinent one. Kudos to Delta for getting the aircraft cleaned and back in the air in relatively short order. Hopefully, the diarrhea passenger is now feeling much better.