Delta Air Lines Flight Had to U-Turn Over Ocean Due to Fuel Imbalance

  • A Delta Air Lines plane had to U-turn over the Atlantic Ocean due to a fuel imbalance, per Newsweek.
  • The flight to Ghana returned to New York after the fuel issue was discovered, the report said.
  • One passenger said in a YouTube video that it was “the scariest day of [his] life. “

A Delta Air Lines flight was forced to make a U-turn over the Atlantic Ocean after the pilots discovered there was an issue with the fuel.

Newsweek was the first to report the news.

The Delta flight took off on July 24 from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York and was supposed to carry on to Kotoka International Airport in Accra, Ghana, for Newsweek.

Instead, the plane turned around mid-flight and returned to New York, according to the report.

Delta didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment about the incident outside normal business hours. A spokesperson for the airline told Newsweek the plane flew back to JFK airport “out of an abundance of caution due to a fuel imbalance in-flight.”

A fuel imbalance is when the amount of fuel between the left and right fuel tanks in aircraft wings is unequal, according to Boeing.

“An emergency was declared on arrival at JFK to obtain priority handling from air traffic control,” the Delta spokesperson told Newsweek. The flight landed in New York safely and the passengers disembarked the plane, the spokesperson added.

A map shows the rough location of where a Delta flight from JFK to Accra, Ghana was forced to turn round.

A map shows the rough location of where a Delta flight from JFK to Accra, Ghana was forced to turn round.

Google Maps


One passenger on the flight, YouTuber Arieh Smith, uploaded a video about his experience of the plane turning around around two hours into flight.

“I see the captain come down the aisle and start looking out the window at the wing of the plane,” the YouTuber said in the video. The captain then made an announcement to passengers on the flight, saying the plane had a fuel issue which meant it had to return to New York, Smith said, who has more than five million YouTube followers.

Smith described it as “the scariest day of my life.”

After the plane landed in New York, Smith got to enter the plane’s cockpit and talk to the pilots, who told him in the video: “We were not able to automatically or manually balance the fuel so we could not continue the flight.”

Smith didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Fuel problems in aircraft aren’t unheard of. Last week, a Qantas Airways plane came close to running out of fuel on approach to Perth, Australia, forcing the crew to declare an emergency for priority landing.

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