How a Passenger's Diarrhea Caused a Delta Flight to Turn Back to Atlanta

Russell Nketiah Tannor

How a Passenger's Diarrhea Caused a Delta Flight to Turn Back to Atlanta

If you think flying is stressful, imagine having to deal with a passenger's diarrhea on a transatlantic flight. That's what happened on a Delta Air Lines flight from Atlanta to Barcelona on Friday night, when a passenger had a medical issue that turned out to be a case of severe diarrhea that spread throughout the airplane.

According to CNN, the pilot of the Airbus A350 contacted air traffic control and requested to return to Atlanta, citing a "biohazard issue" on board. The pilot explained that a passenger had diarrhea "all the way through the airplane" and that they needed to come back to Atlanta for cleaning and safety reasons.

The flight, which had 336 passengers on board, had departed from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport at 8:29 p.m. and was over central Virginia when it turned around. It arrived back in Atlanta at 10:40 p.m., slightly more than two hours after its departure, according to FlightAware.

Delta told CNN that the flight was delayed just over eight hours, but landed in Barcelona without further incident on Saturday at 5:16 p.m. local time. "Our teams worked as quickly and safely as possible to get our customers to their final destination," a spokesperson said. "We sincerely apologize to our customers for the delay and inconvenience to their travel plans."

This is not the first time that bodily fluids have disrupted a flight this summer. In August, Air Canada apologized to two passengers who were told to sit in vomit-covered seats on a flight from Las Vegas to Montreal. In June, a traveler on an Air France flight from Paris to Toronto found his seat's footwell still wet with a previous passenger's blood and diarrhea.

While these incidents are rare and unfortunate, they serve as a reminder that flying can be unpredictable and sometimes unpleasant. As travelers, we should always be prepared for any situation and show compassion and understanding to our fellow passengers and crew members.

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