This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Delta passengers on a flight from Beijing (PEK) to Seattle (SEA) had a wrench thrown into their Christmas Eve travel when a suspected mechanical problem forced their plane off course on Monday.
Delta flight DL128 made an unexpected stop on the remote island of Shemya in the Aleutian Islands on Christmas Eve. The diversion was caused by what is being reported as “potential engine issue.”
Some on Twitter were quick to note it’s not the best place in the world to have to divert:
Others had more global concerns:
Delta Air Lines quickly — well as could be expected for such a remote location — dispatched another plane to the remote island to retrieve its stranded passengers. The new plane reached Seattle around 9pm local time, ensuring that all passengers still made it home for Christmas, even if they were left a bit chilly from their time on the island.
Shemya has a long history involving aviation. The US Air Force opened a base on the island in 1943. That base is still in operation today. In 1956, now-defunct Northwest Airlines leased the island from the US government to use it as a refueling station for its “Orient Express” services between the United States and Asia. Northwest claims this made it the first airline to operate its own airport.
Though remote, this isn’t the first time aircraft have unexpectedly landed at Shemya during an emergency. In 1993, China Eastern flight 538 diverted to the island. The MD-11 made an emergency landing after a crew member accidentally deployed the plane’s slats while cruising at altitude. The resulting oscillations of the aircraft caused serious injuries to some passengers and crew, resulting in two deaths.
Delta hasn’t made it clear yet exactly what caused the reported engine issues for its 767.
Know before you go.
News and deals straight to your inbox every day.
NEW INCREASED OFFER: 60,000 points! With great travel benefits, 2x points on travel & dining and a 60,000 point sign up bonus worth up to $1,200 in value, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for those looking to get into the points and miles game. Here are the top 5 reasons it should be in your wallet, or read our definitive review for more details.
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Chase Sapphire Preferred named "Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, June 2018
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- No foreign transaction fees
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
- No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards