INCIDENT: Delta 757 Smoke In Passenger Cabin

By Spyros Georgilidakis | November 4, 2022

A Delta Air Lines 757 crew had to divert to Albuquerque, after a problem that eventually caused smoke to appear in the passenger cabin.

INCIDENT: Delta 757 Smoke In Passenger Cabin
Photo: Ryan Johns

This incident happened on Tuesday the 1st of November. It involved flight DL-2846, a service that Delta performs daily, departing from Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (KATL) at 1:45 pm. The domestic flight’s destination is Los Angeles International (KLAX).

In recent weeks, Delta has been using a Boeing 757 for this flight, which was the case during this smoke event. Tuesday’s flight had 193 passengers and 6 crew on board. The Delta crew lined up with runway 26L, lifting off within 15 minutes of their scheduled departure time. They soon leveled off at FL360 for the cruise portion of the flight.

Photo: Motohide Miwa, CC BY 2.0

But about two hours and fifteen minutes into the flight, the crew decided to divert. The smoke was not the first sign of trouble that the Delta 757 crew saw. When they decided to divert, they had identified an issue with one of their Pratt & Whitney PW2037 engines. Later, Delta would reportedly describe this as “a performance problem”.


Delta 757 Passengers See Smoke

The crew decided to divert to Albuquerque International Airport (KABQ). But it wasn’t until the Delta flight had started its descent that its pilots became aware of the presence of smoke in the cabin. The flight was descending through FL280 when its crew declared an emergency, notifying ATC about the smoke.

As they descended, the crew initially leveled off at 12,000 feet. Ground elevation at Albuquerque is over 5,000 feet. The Delta 757 landed on runway 8 in Albuquerque, about three hours after its departure from Atlanta. There were no injuries. Some passengers of this Delta 757 flight took pictures and video of the smoke event. They also suggested that the crew had to shut down one of their engines.

The aircraft in this incident is a 757-200, with tail number N819DX. It is eighteen and a half years old, initially entering service in May 2004, with Shanghai Airlines. Delta picked it up in May 2015. The passengers of the incident flight would eventually reach their destination in another 757, nearly six hours late.

INCIDENT: Delta 757 Smoke In Passenger Cabin
Photo: Russell Lee, CC BY 2.0

Interestingly, that second aircraft has registration N820DX – numerically one away, and about a month younger than the Delta 757 in the smoke incident! N819DX would eventually fly to Los Angeles on the 4th of November, as a non-revenue flight.


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