There's a time and a place for everything. Even for lame jokes. But the air traffic control tower at the world's busiest airport, while a plane is attempting to land, is neither the time nor the place for any kind of joke. And that's exactly what one air traffic controller and Delta flight found out.
Devin Fehely of WXIA-TV in Atlanta reports an air traffic controller made an ill-timed wisecrack as a Boeing 777 approached Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport on June 11, one which ultimately delayed the plane's landing. The FAA says the traffic controller told the pilot of Delta flight 630 from Detroit to not land, despite being just 1,000ft off the ground.
“630, go around", the controller said, according to Fox News.
But seconds later, he changed his mind.
"I'm kidding, Delta 630. After you land, I've got no one behind you. Expect to exit right".
At that point, however, the pilot had already canceled landing and taken the plane back up in the air.
“You sent us around”, the annoyed pilot said to the controller, according to Fox News. “Delta 630 is on the go".
The plane then circled the airport and landed safely on its second approach without further incident. But the FAA has launched an investigation into the bad joke (if you can even really call it that) according to a statement, though it does not believe the plane or its passengers were ever in any danger.
This air traffic controller shouldn't give up his day job. But now there's a decent chance he'll have to.
Ryan Craggs is Thrillist's Travel Editor. If it weren't for bad jokes, he wouldn't have any jokes at all. Follow him @ryanrcraggs.