Delta Plane Gets So Hot In Las Vegas That People Become Ill

Delta Plane Gets So Hot In Las Vegas That People Become Ill

66

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.”

Seriously, Delta?!

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…

Bottom line

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?

Conversations (66)
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  1. Chris Petrides Guest

    Recently posted on Substack about my own DA experience. https://substack.com/@christinaepetrides
    The post is on “ Devil’s Airlines”

  2. Tony Meola Member

    This sounds truly criminal.

  3. FlyerDon Member

    It’s still not clear to me what the issue was that kept this flight from departing. It sounds like they were waiting for a flight attendant, which initially delayed the flight at the gate, but later pushed off the gate but for some reason couldn’t depart. Was there a ground stop to ATL? Was the flight too heavy to depart? Were they experiencing some sort of mechanical problem? This wasn’t Delta’s finest hour but there’s...

    It’s still not clear to me what the issue was that kept this flight from departing. It sounds like they were waiting for a flight attendant, which initially delayed the flight at the gate, but later pushed off the gate but for some reason couldn’t depart. Was there a ground stop to ATL? Was the flight too heavy to depart? Were they experiencing some sort of mechanical problem? This wasn’t Delta’s finest hour but there’s a lot of missing information about what was causing the delay.

  4. HLB in TX Guest

    American EXP flyer here, flying routinely across about 20 states.
    The situation where you can board without a pilot but you can with FAs happened to us on a CLT flight in summer 2022. 30 mins with no AC in July before a pilot showed up to turn that on. Thank God it was a nighttime flight I guess…
    The AA 737s routinely have very weak AC - before takeoff definitely, but not...

    American EXP flyer here, flying routinely across about 20 states.
    The situation where you can board without a pilot but you can with FAs happened to us on a CLT flight in summer 2022. 30 mins with no AC in July before a pilot showed up to turn that on. Thank God it was a nighttime flight I guess…
    The AA 737s routinely have very weak AC - before takeoff definitely, but not much better in the air.
    I’m curious - what caused the 3+ hour queue at LAS? The airports and the airlines MUST improve on efficiency. And MUST be honest about the capacity they can truly handle - including planes with functional air conditioning. If you have a plane with poor or broken AC, it goes offline until fixed. Period.
    And I’m in airports every week that don’t have air-conditioned jetways.

  5. Daveb Guest

    What i do not understand. They have cooling units when the plane is at the gate. If that unit was not working correctly , passengers should not have boarded until the entire crew was onboard. The pilot should have started one engine to start the onboard air conditioning system. Then to tell the passegers.if they deplane they cannot get back onboard once the situation is under control is insanity

    Delta needs to compensate the...

    What i do not understand. They have cooling units when the plane is at the gate. If that unit was not working correctly , passengers should not have boarded until the entire crew was onboard. The pilot should have started one engine to start the onboard air conditioning system. Then to tell the passegers.if they deplane they cannot get back onboard once the situation is under control is insanity

    Delta needs to compensate the passengers with a 500 voucher and a hotel for to stay over

  6. George Romey Guest

    It's just shocking that the plane was not ordered to deplane. What were they thinking?

  7. Joakim Laga Guest

    Is it Ed Bastian’s fault? Was Richard Anderson a better CEO? Delta service and quality has diminished recently. As a Delta Million Miler and Diamond Medallion, as well as a United 1Ker, I’m finding my experiences on United to be better recently than Delta and now prefer them. Terrible that Delta let this occur.

  8. Al Guest

    How come situations like that mainly seem to happen in the US - or do we not hear of the others around the world?

  9. Linda Guest

    Because I’ve had heat stroke in the past, I might have #%€£¥<} died. We fly Delta all the time and I’m so unbelievably disappointed in your ground and gate crews! Delta has always been about their customers and comfort, what the hell happened here?

  10. Jeff Guest

    Captain should be fired. The safety of the passengers is his/her direct responsibility. If the plane could not be kept at a safe temperature, then the passengers should be de-planed. No excuse. I say this as an airline captain.

  11. gstork Guest

    Is this the same flight where the people who were passing out from the prolonged exposure to the extreme heat onboard also had involuntarily evacuated their bowels? Heard something about it on the radio on the way home tonight. Sounds all around horrific.

    1. Linda Guest

      Overheated persons get diarrhea, vomit and pass out and it is so much harder on children and the elderly. Delta is very lucky passengers didn’t die! Shame on the cabin crew as well as ground & gate crews!

  12. iamhere Guest

    Someone probably messed up allowing the passengers to board and not checking everything. This type of situation will happen more as more places hit record highs.

  13. BenjaminGuttery Diamond

    I'm SHOOK that You've never seen any of the Hunger Games. You need to watch all 4 right now. And then prepare for the pre-quel.

  14. Zeek Guest

    What is the difficulty for the airline in allowing people to deplane in these situations where the delay is several hours and there might not be an ETA on when the issue will be resolved? I'm honestly curious.

  15. Jacques Portgieter Guest

    PIC should've made a call on this way before it escalated.

  16. Randy Diamond

    Flew out of Vegas To DCA on Sunday on AA at 2pm. Full flight. They swapped the 737Max for a 738. Aircraft came from DCA - so swapped in DCA then flown back. Temp in LAS was 114. SO - I wonder if the flying characteristics of the MAX don't work as well at high temps - hence the aircraft swap??

    After backing and going to runway - we got delayed 45 minutes, as they...

    Flew out of Vegas To DCA on Sunday on AA at 2pm. Full flight. They swapped the 737Max for a 738. Aircraft came from DCA - so swapped in DCA then flown back. Temp in LAS was 114. SO - I wonder if the flying characteristics of the MAX don't work as well at high temps - hence the aircraft swap??

    After backing and going to runway - we got delayed 45 minutes, as they had to recalcuate the weight balance. Options likely off load luggage or fuel. Got hot on aircraft. Then we got OK to take off - took line time down runway before liftoff - a little scary.

    Passenger next to me had friend going to ATL on DL. They had to off load fuel and then make a stop over on the way to refuel.

  17. DCharlie Guest

    Come on. It’s the U.S.

    Prioritize the shareholders! Everything else can be marginalised.

    1. Scudder Diamond

      This is the correct answer. (Almost always.)

  18. Steve Guest

    U.S. Tarmac Delay Laws
    After a tarmac delay of two hours, passengers must be provided with food, water, operational lavatories, and medical care (medical care only if needed). After a tarmac delay of three hours in the U.S., passengers must be given the option to deplane.

  19. Luke Guest

    Global warming coming full circle on a blog dedicated to luxury air travel.

  20. Tullio Feleppa Guest

    It really comes down to the plane’s captain because he is the final authority as to the operation of the aircraft ! A complete asshole , he should be fired ! Welcome all the lawsuits !

    1. E.T. Guest

      Sure, ruin the captain's career because he was very likely following company orders. That'll solve the problem. Idiot.

    2. Tullio Feleppa Guest

      A pilot is the FINAL AUTHORITY AND WHATEVER BE DECIDES WILL HAVE HIS PILOTS UNION BEHIND HIM , there’s no way
      Delta will even touch this situation with a 10 foot pole ! But then you’re another asshole and don’t know these things !

  21. Donna Diamond

    So glad I’m not currently traveling anywhere in the current climate. Hopefully things will cool down soon. In the meantime, I feel very sorry for the passengers and crew of that flight. Delta needs to fix its management culture.

  22. Debra M Casillas Guest

    We left Vegas for Burbank on JSX on Sunday - when it was 116! and were a bit late boarding due to the temperature onboard the aircraft BEFORE we were allowed to board. Once onboard, we were there for MINUTES only....but a couple people got sick even in this short amount of time. I cannot imagine sitting onboard for the amount that they people did.....as I doubt the air conditioning was functioning at "HALF" levels....let alone normal. Poor decisions Delta.....

  23. TravelinWilly Diamond

    5,000 SkyMiles automatically deposited into everyone’s account will make everything better.

    1. Patti Member

      Oooh, means you can buy a 2nd pack of Bishoff

  24. See Guest

    I don't think any other airline gives employee bonuses like Delta. Is this a result of that -that incentivizes employees to make awful decisions, so that their bonuses remain high for ontime departures?

  25. Brian Guest

    I live in Phoenix where it is regularly over 114 degrees at the times planes take off. I've never heard of (or experienced) flights not being able to make it to the east coast due to the temperature. Years ago (early 90s maybe?), they had to shut the airport down when it hit 122, but that was because the take off calculations weren't done for that high of a temperature. Then again, American and Southwest...

    I live in Phoenix where it is regularly over 114 degrees at the times planes take off. I've never heard of (or experienced) flights not being able to make it to the east coast due to the temperature. Years ago (early 90s maybe?), they had to shut the airport down when it hit 122, but that was because the take off calculations weren't done for that high of a temperature. Then again, American and Southwest don't fly 30 year old 757s. Why on Earth would Delta put planes on that route that they know can't make the journey?

    1. Anonymous Guest

      Hot air does not provide enough lift. So the plane needs to be lighter. They forgo fuel in those cases.

    2. Foo blah Guest

      Also the tarmac on the runway and ramps can melt, or heat from the pavement can overpressure tires.

      Lots of things can happen.

      If you look at prior data, Phoenix has had a history of many delays due to temps.

    3. Thomas Christoffersen Guest

      Sounds odd this…
      The B757 is the King of Hot and High Performance, Beats the B737 and A320 big time in this regard

    4. Never In Doubt Guest

      McCarran in Vegas is 1,000 ft higher than Sky Harbor in Phoenix.

      Not sure if that's a material difference for this aircraft.

    5. Barbarella Guest

      The -200 yes. This was a -300, which requires about 40% more runway than a -200 to take off.
      While LAS has one very generous 4000 m runway (08L/26R), it's facing west and the others are shorter, especially the pair arranged in a north/south axis which are about as long as the takeoff distance of the 757-300 (2600 m).
      So if wind blows from the north, can't take 26R, factor in the heat and maybe other factors (load, exact wind directiond) and you have your issue.

    6. TProphet Guest

      Higher elevation in Las Vegas than Phoenix - the air is thinner there.

  26. Christian Guest

    I think you should watch or read The Hunger Games.

    1. Patti Member

      Yeah, the reference was a ????

  27. Patti Guest

    Absolutely ridiculous, including the statement that if you deplane, it could be days. DL should have moved people off and planned to get another plane there.

    Been on a few where it got pretty uncomfortable but never this level of sheer uncaring about the passengers.

    Nearest experience was on a DL flight out of Iceland where we had some mechanical issue. The plane had already been delayed for hours. Then after we boarded, another issue....

    Absolutely ridiculous, including the statement that if you deplane, it could be days. DL should have moved people off and planned to get another plane there.

    Been on a few where it got pretty uncomfortable but never this level of sheer uncaring about the passengers.

    Nearest experience was on a DL flight out of Iceland where we had some mechanical issue. The plane had already been delayed for hours. Then after we boarded, another issue. It was freezing inside. Especially since they kept the door open so maintenance could come in and out and there was a serious wind blowing. And those thin DL blankets were a joke.

    I was on a domestic Egypt Air flight in the middle of a heat wave in July with a mechanical issue and they didn't even treat us this badly.

    1. Tim Dunn Diamond

      Patti
      nobody remotely in touch w/ the real world can see how out of touch the Delta pilots were; carrying passengers is not the military - which is where alot of Delta pilots got their experience.

      Your DA comment below IS as stupid as the person that made the original comment.

      Let's face it that people can't accept basic facts of the industry so think that someone that understands the industry should be incapable...

      Patti
      nobody remotely in touch w/ the real world can see how out of touch the Delta pilots were; carrying passengers is not the military - which is where alot of Delta pilots got their experience.

      Your DA comment below IS as stupid as the person that made the original comment.

      Let's face it that people can't accept basic facts of the industry so think that someone that understands the industry should be incapable of understanding how completely unacceptable this event was.

      As much as people want to talk about whatever cultural or management problems they think Delta has, the reality is that more of this stuff happens at other airlines = and there is abundant data to prove it.

      Delta has some employees that totally lost touch w/ reality.

      I would fully expect that there is already a memo in process if not in the hands of employees that makes it clear the temperature limits that flights should operate in.

      trying to throw maintenance, the 757 and everything else under the bus misses the reality that there is some horrific decisions that were made by a handful of Delta employees that should have never allowed this to happen.

      And none of this changes that United lost money over the Pacific or a dozen other facts that I have accurately addressed on here - as many toes that I stepped on.

    2. Patti Member

      My BIL was an airline pilot. A good friend is a Captain.

      Have you remotely touched the controls of anything more than your Remco toy cockpit?

    3. Tim Dunn Diamond

      yes. I fly recreationally.
      And your friends' intelligence doesn't make it yours.

    4. Robert Fahr Guest

      What @Patti said.

    5. Henry LAX Guest

      once again, DL propaganda mouthpiece Tim Dunn came to its rescue!!

      trying to divert the subject to United and Pacific that has nothing to do with this incident whatsoever.

      But just like Russia’s RT or Beijing’s Global Times, you can always count on Tim Dunn to blindly rush to DL’s defense and blame the victims instead

    6. Scott Nelson Guest

      Getting another plane wouldn’t have solved the problem

      Think about the problem and what a solution would be?

  28. windswd Guest

    DL has gone downhill in a hurry in terms of MANAGING PEOPLE when confronted with a problem. They need to move quickly, decisively and transparently. THEY DONT DO THAT.
    Oct 2022: DL from JFK/CDG - flight delayed 5 hrs and takes off around 130am and there is no coherent info shared with passengers
    May 2023: DL from LAX/SYD - passengers on board for hours before the flight is scrapped because the 4th pilot...

    DL has gone downhill in a hurry in terms of MANAGING PEOPLE when confronted with a problem. They need to move quickly, decisively and transparently. THEY DONT DO THAT.
    Oct 2022: DL from JFK/CDG - flight delayed 5 hrs and takes off around 130am and there is no coherent info shared with passengers
    May 2023: DL from LAX/SYD - passengers on board for hours before the flight is scrapped because the 4th pilot was AWOL and that late at night where do you find a replacement. BUT AGAIN: poor communication. psgrs kept in the dark etc etc

    I experienced the above but it pales in comparison to what those poor souls in Las Vegas had to endure. This was CRIMINAL.

    Delta needs to take a long hard look at their protocols on how to handle such issues. Yes, the airline business is complex. And yes, there is a severe shortage of staff etc etc. The issue, though, is : HOW ARE YOU TREATING YOUR PASSENGERS and CAN YOU DO BETTER

    1. simmonad Guest

      I come across this communication issue time and again with all sorts of airlines. What is so difficult about keeping pax in the loop for ongoing problems?

      Every airline is "great" when things run smoothly but it's when problems occur that you can see which are good airlines and which are hopeless.

  29. RetiredATLATC Diamond

    Really not surprised. Delta's 75's are getting worse and worse.

    Look at the FR24 history of ATL-UIO and the maintenance delays and late flights are more normal than not.

    These aircraft, as well as the MD's, have done yeoman's work throughout the years but are way too past their prime.

    1. Tim Dunn Diamond

      given that Delta operates over 100 757s of both the -200 and -300s, if the 757s were that bad, they couldn't possibly be posting system on-time percentages as high as they are - which are higher than every other airline.

      Presumably you have no idea about the maintenance history for the aircraft that operated that flight.

      Regardless of the aircraft, there is no excuse for leaving passengers on an aircraft that hot.
      Why the...

      given that Delta operates over 100 757s of both the -200 and -300s, if the 757s were that bad, they couldn't possibly be posting system on-time percentages as high as they are - which are higher than every other airline.

      Presumably you have no idea about the maintenance history for the aircraft that operated that flight.

      Regardless of the aircraft, there is no excuse for leaving passengers on an aircraft that hot.
      Why the crew didn't pull the plug a whole lot earlier is simply beyond belief.
      And I can't help but believe that DL does have procedures that should have prevented this.

  30. Eskimo Guest

    ChatGPTim would probably bring up some fluff from the earnings call.

    1. Tim Dunn Diamond

      our resident idiot in residence has shown up

    2. Patti Member

      That's no way to describe yourself, Tim.

  31. Tim Dunn Diamond

    completely inexcusable.
    There is no universe on which passengers should be stuck in a metal tube if the temperature can't be kept a whole lot lower.

    We don't know all of the circumstances but there is a point when you simply can't push the operation when humans can't endure it.

    And according to Flightaware, DAL flight 555 - which has the same flight number from ATL to LAS and back - has not yet diverted to OKC but it is supposed to do today.

  32. BJ Dela Cruz Guest

    Could the pilots have turned on the AC while on the ground? Or does the plane need to be in the air before they could turn it on?

    1. OCTinPHL Diamond

      I believe the engines need to be running for the aircraft’s AC to be running; otherwise, the plane is relying on air from the jet-bridge. I doubt the engines were running while sitting at the gate for 3+ hours.

    2. Tim Dunn Diamond

      airplanes are often provided ground air conditioning and LAS has it but that was likely not sufficient given the high exterior temps and the full flight.
      Air conditioning can be provided by the auxiliary power unit but engines can't be run at the gate for an extended period of time.

    3. JJ Guest

      Does a B757 not have an apu to help provide power for AC on the ground? Or was that part of the problem?

    4. Chris Raehl Guest

      I'm going to hazard a guess that the APU doesn't kick out enough power to run air conditioning.

    5. OneAlphaTwo Gold

      The APU definitely has enough power to power the environmental system while on the ground. Even in those high temperatures, it has enough power to keep it at a reasonable temperature inside the cabin.

      The question then is, was the APU running or were they relying on the HVAC from the terminal? More often than not, airlines are advised not to run the APU at the gate for fuel savings (however with those extreme...

      The APU definitely has enough power to power the environmental system while on the ground. Even in those high temperatures, it has enough power to keep it at a reasonable temperature inside the cabin.

      The question then is, was the APU running or were they relying on the HVAC from the terminal? More often than not, airlines are advised not to run the APU at the gate for fuel savings (however with those extreme temps, this would be a case where it should be running).

      The other possibility is that if it was running, it was a faulty APU and needed to be changed out (which is common), as it’s not producing enough power.

      Very sad story all around though. Everyone’s needless bickering on the comments section here only made it worse.

    6. Anon Guest

      I wonder if the APU was broken. It's pretty common that they're out of service (especially on old planes like 757s), and they're not required to be operational to fly (except for ETOPS, which this flight wasn't). APUs are not maintained to nearly the same standards as engines and thus break a lot. A broken APU would certainly explain why it got so insanely hot because presumably any pilot would use the plane's own AC...

      I wonder if the APU was broken. It's pretty common that they're out of service (especially on old planes like 757s), and they're not required to be operational to fly (except for ETOPS, which this flight wasn't). APUs are not maintained to nearly the same standards as engines and thus break a lot. A broken APU would certainly explain why it got so insanely hot because presumably any pilot would use the plane's own AC (which requires either the APU or an engine to be running) under these circumstances when the piped in AC from the ground wasn't cutting it.

    1. Never In Doubt Guest

      United, American, Southwest playing checkers.

      Delta playing hot chess.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Tim Dunn Diamond

our resident idiot in residence has shown up

5
windswd Guest

DL has gone downhill in a hurry in terms of MANAGING PEOPLE when confronted with a problem. They need to move quickly, decisively and transparently. THEY DONT DO THAT. Oct 2022: DL from JFK/CDG - flight delayed 5 hrs and takes off around 130am and there is no coherent info shared with passengers May 2023: DL from LAX/SYD - passengers on board for hours before the flight is scrapped because the 4th pilot was AWOL and that late at night where do you find a replacement. BUT AGAIN: poor communication. psgrs kept in the dark etc etc I experienced the above but it pales in comparison to what those poor souls in Las Vegas had to endure. This was CRIMINAL. Delta needs to take a long hard look at their protocols on how to handle such issues. Yes, the airline business is complex. And yes, there is a severe shortage of staff etc etc. The issue, though, is : HOW ARE YOU TREATING YOUR PASSENGERS and CAN YOU DO BETTER

5
Amritpal Singh Guest

Waiting for Tim Dunn's take

4
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