My gosh, this Delta flight sounds absolutely awful…
114-degree temps cause problems on Delta flight
This incident happened on Monday, July 17, 2023, and involves Delta flight 555, which was scheduled to operate from Las Vegas (LAS) to Atlanta (ATL) on a 20-year-old Boeing 757-300 with the registration code N592NW.
The flight was scheduled to depart shortly before 2PM, when temperatures in Las Vegas had reached 114 degrees, three degrees short of Las Vegas’ all-time temperature high. Temperatures are so hot in Las Vegas at the moment that this particular flight has to divert to Oklahoma City (OKC) on many days, because the plane can’t fly nonstop to Atlanta due to the temperature (which impacts takeoff performance).
Passengers sat on the plane for more than three hours before departure. According to Fox Weather, the delay was because they were waiting on a flight attendant. I’m a little confused by that, because I believe you need FAA minimum flight attendants in order to board a flight (meanwhile you can board without pilots). Regardless, passengers spent a long time on the plane, whatever the reason may have been.
The cabin reportedly wasn’t cooling as it should have, and it became swelteringly hot. The staff announced that passengers could deplane, but if they chose to do so, it could be days before they’d find another flight to Atlanta. As a result, most passengers stayed onboard.
Several passengers threw up, and had to put oxygen masks on. After around four hours on the plane, paramedics were called, and several people were taken off the plane on stretchers with oxygen masks, including one flight attendant. At this point passengers were finally asked to disembark.
In response to this, Delta issued the following statement:
“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.”
Look, airline operations are complicated, and stuff happens. Sometimes a flight attendant is missing, and sometimes it’s really hot outside. And I can appreciate the challenge that ground personnel face, where they don’t want people deplaning, because that can significantly complicate things, and slow down the operation.
But seriously, it’s ridiculously manipulative to put passengers in a cabin that’s so hot as to be unsafe, and then tell them that if they get off the plane they might not be rebooked for days. What is this, Hunger Games (I’ve never seen Hunger Games, so I hope the reference is correct!)?
The fact that this went on for hours is completely unacceptable. Why not just deplane people and ask them to stick around in the gate area?
I suspect this comes down to a situation where incentives just aren’t aligned. The gate agents and crew understandably want to get the flight out as soon as possible. I guess they assumed that was the best course of action until paramedics were suddenly needed.
To state the obvious, if you’re waiting to deplane passengers until the first group of people pass out, you’ve waited too long…
Passengers on a Delta flight from Las Vegas to Atlanta had an incredibly unpleasant experience. It was 114 degrees outside, and apparently not much cooler in the cabin. After sitting on the plane for hours, people eventually started passing out, and paramedics had to be called. Only at that point did Delta start forcing people to get off the plane.
What do you make of this Delta situation?