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'Diarrhea all the way through the airplane' | The most-talked-about air travel nightmare in America

The flight turned around over central Virginia and landed back in Atlanta more than two hours after its departure.
Credit: AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

ATLANTA — In one of the most-talked-about - and hard to believe - air travel episodes in recent memory, there are new details coming to light in the turnaround of a Delta Air Lines flight from Atlanta that had been bound for Barcelona on Friday night.

CNN reports that according to Delta, a passenger had diarrhea "all the way through the plane" - causing the pilot to report a "biohazard issue" and turn the plane around before it even left American airspace.

“It’s just a biohazard issue, we had a passenger who had diarrhea all the way through the airplane so they want us to come back to Atlanta,” CNN reports the pilot said to air traffic control.

Then Tuesday evening, video began circulating online that appears to show the cabin of the plane, with the diarrhea indeed running all through the plane - up along the length of the aisle with several blankets, paper towels and whatever else anyone could find to try to cover it. 

The video appeared to be taken after the plane had landed back in Atlanta - there are no passengers to be seen in it. (11Alive has not independently verified the video, though it is easily findable with a social media search of "diarrhea plane" if you really need to see it. We reached out to Delta, but have not gotten a reply.)

They made it to Virginia, roughly two hours into the flight, before it turned around and came back to Atlanta. Delta said the delay lasted a little more than eight hours. It eventually took off from Atlanta again and made its way to Barcelona.

The identity of the passenger was not released. What that passenger might have done when the plane returned to Atlanta - if they departed the airport or continued with the flight to Barcelona - was not known.

“Our teams worked as quickly and safely as possible to get our customers to their final destination,” Delta said in a statement to CNN. “We sincerely apologize to our customers for the delay and inconvenience to their travel plans.”

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