Southwest Diversion Leads to Odd Flight Path — From Washington Dulles to Washington Reagan
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. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Southwest helped an aircraft full of its passengers skip Northern Virginia’s traffic and toll roads — but not on their own volition and after a series of flight delay.
On Monday, Southwest Flight 5691 took off from the airline’s home base at Dallas Love Field (DAL) en route to Washington Reagan (DCA). As the aircraft got closer to the East Coast, it was ordered to circle over West Virginia and Pennsylvania to avoid the heavy storms that the Washington area was experiencing.
Low on fuel, air traffic control diverted the aircraft to Washington’s larger international airport, Dulles (IAD).
However, instead of letting passengers off at Dulles, which is about 24 miles from from Reagan airport, Southwest employees told travelers that they’d have to stay on the aircraft because it still needed to get to its final destination.
Those in the cabin weren’t having it and repeatedly asked to get off the aircraft. The crew said that because the 737 needed to ferry passengers on a separate flight from DCA to Milwaukee later that night, they couldn’t get off.
Eventually the Southwest crew gave in and let off those with carry-on bags — leaving the aircraft about half full.
“They were originally not going to let people get off the plane at all until enough people asked,” tweeted passenger Pam Krieger.
A new crew even had to replace the original group before the aircraft could head to DCA. Two hours and 15 minutes after landing at Dulles, the jet, registered N8656B, took back off for just 21 minutes in the air.
The airplane took a flightpath in the shape of an S to navigate DCA’s complicated approach — landing at 9:22pm according to Flightaware, or four hours after its scheduled arrival time.
While this type of flight might have been enjoyable for an AvGeek, Southwest still compensated passengers with a $100 voucher for the delays and apologized to the affected customers.
A friend of Kreiger commented on her odd journey, saying: “Congrats on being the first person I ever met who got to fly from IAD to DCA,” she told Kreiger. “That’s amazing.”
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
- Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at US restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
- Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees