A Delta Air Lines plane was forced to turn around about an hour into a flight from Atlanta to Barcelona, Spain, after a passenger had diarrhea throughout the cabin, according to air traffic audio.
Delta flight 194 left Atlanta around 8:30 p.m. on Sept. 1 on an anticipated eight- to nine-hour flight to Barcelona, according to airline tracker Flightaware.com.
Less than an hour after taking off, the plane turned around and started heading back toward Atlanta, the flight tracker showed.
In audio captured by LiveATC.net and shared on X, formerly known as Twitter, the pilot can be heard telling air traffic control there was a “biohazard” on the flight, forcing them to return.
“It’s just a biohazard issue,” the pilot says in the recording. “We’ve had a passenger who 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
There were 336 passengers on the flight, a Delta spokesperson told McClatchy news in a Sept. 5 email.
When asked to confirm diarrhea as the cause of the flight returning to Atlanta, Delta officials referred to it only as an “onboard medical issue.”
“Delta flight 194 from Atlanta to Barcelona returned to Atlanta following an onboard medical issue. Our teams worked as quickly and safely as possible to get our customers to their final destination. We sincerely apologize to our customers for the delay and inconvenience to their travel plans,” a spokesperson told McClatchy News.
The same plane took off the next day and completed the flight to Barcelona, Delta officials said, 8 hours and 6 minutes behind schedule.
People who said they were on the flight took to X to share their experience.
“My partner was on that flight!” one user wrote. “It was pretty bad. It was dribbled down the aisle, smelled horrible. The vanilla scented disinfectant used on it only made it smell like vanilla (poop).”
“Both my wife and I were on the flight,” another user wrote. “It was a mess. The pilots made the right decision to turn around. The ground crew ripped out the carpet and put new in.”
Other users took the opportunity for some bathroom humor.