Delta flight aborts takeoff as Learjet approaches New Orleans runway

Published: Apr. 1, 2023 at 10:50 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A travel delay is one of the last things any frequent flier wants to deal with, but one routine traveler says he experienced the scariest incident of his life on a plane Friday night (March 31) in New Orleans.

It’s the latest instance of a problem the traveler says is becoming all too common across the industry.

Dallas Richins finished a business trip in Gulfport, Miss., and planned to fly non-stop out of Louis Armstrong New Orleans International to his home in Salt Lake City on Friday night.

“It was the first time I’ve really been scared on an airplane -- and I’ve landed in Tucson with a fire truck spraying foam -- and it didn’t bother me as bad as last night,” Richins told Fox 8 Saturday from his Utah home.

Just as Delta Flight 1482 was speeding down the runway to take off Friday night, it screeched to an emergency stop. The Federal Aviation Administration said a private Learjet rolling on the tarmac got too close for comfort.

According to the FAA, the Learjet never crossed the “hold short line,” and the air traffic controller canceled the takeoff clearance for the Delta Airbus A321 out of an abundance of caution.

Richins said his plane remained on the tarmac nearly 45 minutes before returning to the gate to allow the jet’s brakes to cool down. He said passengers could hear and feel the thump of shredded rubber from the plane’s tires, damaged during the emergency stop.

Richins says the chaos continued with passengers trying to rebook their flights.

“It was a disaster,” he said. “I was on hold with Delta forever. Poor people, they didn’t have any staff there. So the flight attendants were rebooking people.”

In a statement on the Incident, Delta Air Lines said, “Nothing is more important than the safety of our customers and people and we apologize to our customers for the inconvenience and delay of their travels.”

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