A Passenger's Diarrhea Just Caused an International Flight to Turn Around

Here's what to know about flight diversions.

A Friday, September 1 Delta Air Lines flight from Atlanta to Barcelona was forced to turned around just two hours into its journey, after a passenger allegedly had diarrhea "all the way through the airplane." An audio clip posted to X (formerly Twitter) allegedly shares the pilot explaining the situation to passengers.

Flight maps confirm that a diversion of the Atlanta-Barcelona flight did take place, and Delta later confirmed that a biohazard incident caused the flight to be rerouted.

"Delta flight 194 on Sept. 1 from Atlanta to Barcelona returned to Atlanta following an onboard medical issue," a Delta statement said. "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."

TMZ reported that a person claiming to have a partner on the flight said: "My partner was on that flight! It was pretty bad. It was dribbled down the aisle, smelled horrible."

And while the smell of such a situation is obviously one reason no one would want to stay on a flight, it goes beyond simple unpleasantness. Diarrhea is a real biohazard issue and can carry bacteria, viruses, and toxins. "Feces (poop) from people or animals is an important source of germs like Salmonella, E. coli O157, and norovirus that cause diarrhea, and it can spread some respiratory infections like adenovirus and hand-foot-mouth disease," the Centers for Disease Control states.

While diarrhea all throughout a plane is certainly one of the most bizarre reasons for a plane to turn around, it's not the only reason a plane can turn back. Some of the most common reasons, according to Simple Flying, include weather, technical issues with the aircraft, medical issues, passenger disruption, and safety concerns.

Other reasons planes have recently been diverted mid-journey include an economy passenger refusing to stop entering the business class area, a passenger getting into a shouting match with crew, and problems at JFK preventing a plane from landing.

Want more Thrillist? Follow us on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and YouTube.

Opheli Garcia Lawler is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @opheligarcia and Instagram @opheligarcia.