Oops: Two Delta Boeing Aircraft Clip Wings In Atlanta

In an incident this week, two Delta aircraft clipped their wings in a low-speed collision in Atlanta. The Boeing 737 and 757 were pushing back and taxiing respectively at the time of the incident. Both planes have been grounded until repairs are conducted and passengers on the Pensacola and Los Angeles-bound flights were delayed.

Delta Atlanta Aircraft Apron
The two flights were preparing for departure when their wings came into contact, clipping them. Photo: Getty Images


According to Travel Pulse, the incident occurred on Tuesday night at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, Delta’s headquarters and hub. The two aircraft were both preparing for their departure when they came into contact.

Delta flight DL1231, a Boeing 737-900ER, to Pensacola was pushing back from the gate and preparing for takeoff. Meanwhile, flight DL823 to Los Angeles, a 757-300, was taxiing towards the runway. However, both these flights were stopped in their tracks when the two planes’ wings collided.

The image above shows that one of the aircraft’s wingtips seems to have been clipped in the incident, while the impact on the other is currently unknown. In a statement, Delta described the incident as “low-speed minor contact,” meaning that the other plane is not likely to have seen substantial damage either.

However, as safety protocol requires, both planes were grounded, and passengers offloaded. The aircraft will now undergo repairs and checks to ensure that no systems have been affected, with even the smallest of problems turning catastrophic while in the air. We can also expect an investigation into the factors that led to the incident.

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Passengers from both flights were delayed. While the Pensacola flight had roughly 100 travelers onboard, the LAX service had nearly 200. With the two planes out of service temporarily, Delta moved passengers onto alternate aircraft.

Data from RadarBox.com shows that flight DL1231 reached Pensacola with a delay of nearly three hours. However, the flight to LAX had to be delayed overnight due to the lack of an available replacement crew.

Delta Boeing 737
Delta deployed an alternate 737-900 to carry passengers for their one-hour flight to Florida. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

There were no injuries among passengers, crew, and ground operators, Delta has confirmed. Moreover, only travelers from the two flights faced delays, with other flights departing and arriving on time.

Incidents of aircraft collisions on the ground are rare, with air traffic control ensuring that all planes move safely. However, occasionally, slip-ups can occur due to weather situations and communication issues. Thankfully, these incidents tend to be minor and only inconvenience passengers onboard and the airlines, who have to undertake costly repairs.

Lucky for Delta, the 737 and 757 will only have to take a short trip over to the airline’s TechOps center for their repairs.

Busy flights

As COVID-19 comes under control in the US and vaccine rates pick up impressively, airlines are seeing a resurgent domestic market. The sudden rise in travelers has even resulted in staff shortages at the airline, including in its lounges. With daily passenger figures reaching over 1.5 million every day for the last fortnight, a recovery is well underway.

Have you begun flying again since the pandemic hit? Let us know in the comments!