Delta Passengers Get Stranded On Remote Alaskan Island On Christmas Eve

Recently many passengers were left stranded at Gatwick Airport, as London airspace was invaded by drone hooligans (or as the police are saying now, perhaps it wasn’t…).

But these passengers didn’t have the worse luck over the Christmas break, as a Delta flight was forced to land on a remote Alaskan island on Christmas Eve…

What is the story?

Delta flight DL128 was en route from Bejing to Seattle when they experience some slight potential engine problems above the remote Alaskan island chain that features USA’s most western point (not mainland).

Delta Passengers Get Stranded On Remote Alaskan Island On Christmas Eve

The Boeing 767 pilot crew decided to land to check out the problem, at the very remote airport of Shemya (SYA). This airport is actually an in-use US Air Force Base, but in 1956 has doubled as a lonely refueling station for long gone Northwest Airlines as part of their Oriental route.

As you can see, the island is not exactly the most photogenic. Source: US Air Force.

Alaska has always been an excellent location for Airlines and is a major region for most postage carriers (such as DHL and FedEx) as its actually very central to most of the northern hemisphere.

What happened next?

Delta, of course, knew that a PR fiasco might pour out of this if Santa beat the passengers home from the north pole, dispatched another jet ASAP.

The replacement jet en route to save the passengers.

The new jet arrived around 12 hours into the frozen Island vacay and was able to whisk the passengers home in time for morning present opening.

“I was in the airport this morning at 7 o’clock and there was nothing here. Nobody to tell me what happened and I had to go home, It took me about three or four hours to figure out this plane was in Alaska.” –  Jing Cai, whose husband was on the flight.

Delta apologuised to the passengers but said that they believed in safety first and didn’t want to risk any problems with the plane flying over such a remote region. As the passengers are home safety we can assume that it is back to business as usual.

As for the plane, Delta will be flying out engineers to assess the problem and see if they can get the plane back into the sky. No word if the pilots had to stay behind with their craft (although it is unlikely).

At Simple Flying, we love unusual stopovers and exploring rather remote airports in the world, and I know that we would have been thrilled to see a hardly visited part of the world. But when you are trying to get home for Christmas, it’s understandable you would be hardly thrilled to be stuck on a frozen rock.

What do you think? Would you like to visit this island?