Delta Diversion New York (JFK)-St. Kitts

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I’m headed down to St. Kitts for the week to check out the new Park Hyatt St. Kitts, and was pleased to be taking Delta as they recently launched Saturday only service from New York (JFK) to St. Kitts.

We were originally supposed to depart at 8:35am this morning, but didn’t leave till nearly 10am as the aircraft was late to arrive at the gate, fueling had to occur, and we were awaiting a tug to push up back. Nearly 2 hours after our original departure time we took off.

However, about 35 minutes into the flight, I noticed on the inflight map that we start headed West, away from where we should be. Shortly thereafter, the pilot announces that due to a mechanical issue, they’ve decided to divert to Atlanta, which we’d be landing in over an hour. Based on this diversion location, it didn’t seem to be a severe issue, as I would have suspected a quicker diversion city.

Once on the ground, it turns out that when the plane was being de-iced this morning at New York (JFK), some damage was caused to the hydraulics and they didn’t feel it would be safe to land in St. Kitts, nor would they have the parts needed there to fix this, which is why we landed in Atlanta.

In Atlanta, we pulled into E18, and they had a new aircraft with a new crew at the gate next to us, which was E16. 2 hours later we took off again as I write this inflight now from Atlanta to St. Kitts.

With this diversion and mechanical delay, this aircraft won’t be landing into St. Kitts till after 7pm, arriving 5 hours after the originally scheduled arrival of 1:50pm.

On the original flight, there was little communication to the passengers on why we were diverting or what would happen once on the ground, nor any sort of apology from the crew. It will be interesting to see if Delta is proactive with any sort of compensation for their mechanical issue which led to the diversion.

Update: I proactively received the following email from Delta:

It must have been frustrating to have been settled in on Flight 426 to St. Kitts, only to find that you would be making an unscheduled landing in Atlanta. An unexpected mechanical issue made it impossible to continue safely to St. Kitts so the decision was made to land in Atlanta and change planes. This wasn’t the experience we wanted you to have with us today and I’m sorry for the disruption to your travel plans.

We Appreciate Your Business As a goodwill gesture, I’ve deposited 5000 bonus miles into your account. Please allow three business days for the mileage to be posted.

I don’t know, 5,000 SkyMiles for a 5 hour delay/diversion seems like an insult if anything. I plan on reaching out to Delta this week about this incident to see what they’ll offer.

Have you experienced a diversion recently? How was your diversion handled? Feel free to share your details below. 


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  1. We had a diversion on Southwest last year due to a mechanical problem. We too landed in Atlanta (flight was FLL to CMH). The captain and crew were all very helpful and communicative the whole time. They did explain that they were not sure what would happen when we landed, but they would explain it as soon as possible. When we landed, they gave us our new gate number and we all went over there. Boarding was a little harder since Southwest keeps the boarding passes, but we showed our ID and they crossed our names off as we boarded. We were only about an hour late getting in and the next flight on our plane had already been sent on their way on another plane. They were not delayed at all. The next day, before I had a chance to decide if I wanted to complain or not, I had an email from Southwest with a future credit and major apologies on top of the ones that were constantly given by the crew the day before. About a month later when my credit card statement came in, I found they had also credited my Early bird fees back to the original credit card. My thought it, things like this are always going to happen, but it is how the airline responds that makes or breaks the situation. Southwest did everything right in my opinion.

  2. I was on a Asiana flight from Seoul to JFK on Thursday we got diverted to Chicago O’Hare because of closure of JFK. Did not get to JFK till 5pm on Friday. But Asiana had wonderful staff in Chicago who put everyone up at a nearby Hilton, gave $30 dinner coupon and free breakfast. Asiana had tons of staff in Chicago at the airport and the Hilton. They even rented coach buses to get everyone to the hotel quickly. Was sad to see other passengers from a Swiss diverted flight frustrated with almost no staff to help the. While Asiana staff where all over the place being proactive. And then on Friday where wonderful keeping everyone informed and had snacks and drinks setup at the gate. At JFK also had lots of wonderful staff to help out at baggage claim which was mobbed while passengers from other airlines had no staff at all and a lot of chaos. Am totally sold Asiana is a 5 star airline.

  3. My special request meal in economy was served frozen and there was nothing else I could eat — the flight attendant didn’t even offer to cook it again. Delta gave me 5,000 miles.

  4. The guy next to me received 15k miles because his video screen wouldn’t work on a delta flight over the holidays, you should complain!

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