In Romulus, Michigan early Monday morning, a Delta Airlines flight went off the taxiway while headed toward the runway, keeping passengers on the ground at Metro Airport. There were no injuries reported due to the slide.
Delta Flight 2283, a Boeing 737 aircraft, was preparing to depart Romulus for Atlanta at 6:50 a.m. Monday morning when it slid off the taxiway and into the nearby grass. The cause is still under investigation, though Morgan Durrant, a spokesman for Delta, claims that the airline believes the aircraft could have hit a patch of black ice, causing the wheels to slide.
Passengers who were onboard the Delta flight at the time said they didn’t even realize the plane had coasted off of the taxiway until the pilot informed them of the problem on the intercom. Many said they felt a few bumps, but assumed it was part of the normal airplane operation. Passengers were then asked to debark the plane and a shuttle took them back to the terminal, where they were given new flights which would leave later that same day. There were 180 passengers kept on the ground by the Delta Airlines taxiway slide.
For those passengers like Austin Brooks, the delay will add significant time to the travel day. Brooks, who hails from Bloomfield Hills, planned to grab a connecting flight in Atlanta to St. Maarten in the Caribbean for his Christmas holiday. With the large number of travelers during the holiday rush, it could be difficult for him to book another flight to St. Maarten should he miss his connection.
Brooks said he knew something was wrong when he felt the pilot break the plane hard, but that no one on the flight panicked or even seemed frightened. He reported looking at the plane after disembarking and seeing the wheel in the grass, and that the end result looked a lot worse than the actual experience.
Fire trucks and police were sent to the plane, as is standard practice with airline accidents.
Brian Lassaline, a spokesman for the Metro Airport, reported that the plane did not seem to be damaged, but would be looked over by Delta engineers. It has since been towed to one of the Delta hangers at the airport.
Conditions last night in Romulus, Michigan were wet and cold, with an average low of 22 degrees and light rain early Monday morning.
This is not the first incident of a Delta Airlines plane sliding off the taxiway at an airport. As recently as last Monday, another Boeing 737-800 skated off a taxiway at Dane County Regional Airport in Wisconsin just after arriving. That plane contained around 60 passengers, none of whom were injured.
Flight 385 originated in Minneapolis/St. Paul and headed to the Madison area, landing around 4 p.m. local time before taxiing toward the terminal and slipping off the paved road and into the snow. Flight operations were suspended for an hour while another runway was cleared.
Passengers of last Monday’s flight were given a $100 voucher from Delta. It is unknown at this time if Delta Airlines provided this Monday’s passengers, who were kept on the ground due to the taxiway slide, with any type of compensation.
By Marisa Corley