A Delta Airlines flight en route from Atlanta to Barcelona was compelled to make an abrupt U-turn due to a passenger’s severe diarrhea incident that affected the entire aircraft. The flight, DL194, had just crossed over Virginia after departing from Georgia when the decision to return was made.
The captain communicated the issue to Air Traffic Control via a text message, stating the need to divert back to Atlanta due to a biohazard situation caused by a passenger’s diarrhea that had spread throughout the aircraft. This was also confirmed over the radio by one of the pilots.
The incident was distressing for both the passengers and the crew. Some passengers took to social media to share their experiences. One passenger, Dee W., described the situation as “pretty bad,” with the diarrhea dribbling down the aisle and creating a horrible smell. Despite the use of a vanilla-scented disinfectant, the odor persisted.
Upon landing in Atlanta, the aircraft underwent a thorough cleaning operation that lasted five hours and included carpet removal. The passenger who fell ill was attended to by emergency medical technicians. Another passenger, John Hurdt, commended the ground crew, attendants, and pilots for their handling of the situation.
The flight was not canceled despite the incident. After landing in Atlanta at 10:40 pm, the aircraft resumed its journey to Spain at 3 am, more than five hours later. The flight eventually reached Barcelona at 5:10 pm, eight hours behind schedule.
Delta Airlines acknowledged the unexpected medical event but did not provide specific details. In a statement, the airline apologized to its customers for the delay and inconvenience and assured that their teams worked as quickly and safely as possible to clean the aircraft and get the passengers to their final destination.