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Delta flights from South Africa have been forced to make stops in places like Boston and Puerto Rico because of 'payload' issues

Added 12-03-21 07:14:03pm EST - “One possibility for the stops is that flights from South Africa to the US may have been more full following the discovery of the Omicron variant.” - Businessinsider.com

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Posted By TheNewsCommenter: From Businessinsider.com: “Delta flights from South Africa have been forced to make stops in places like Boston and Puerto Rico because of 'payload' issues”. Below is an excerpt from the article.

Two Delta Air Lines flights from South Africa to the US have had to make unscheduled stops for fuel in recent days on their way back to the US. The first diversion occurred on November 28 when Delta flight 201 from Johannesburg, South Africa to Atlanta made a technical stop in Boston to be refueled.  

Another flight from Johannesburg to Atlanta that departed December 2 diverted to San Juan, Puerto Rico, where it also refueled before continuing on. Delta said both stops were "pre-planned" and new flight crews were required to fly the final legs to Atlanta. 

"The redirection of the flight had to do with the technical specifications of our A350 aircraft and the payload of this particular flight," Delta told Insider of the Boston diversion, in a statement. "This can happen on ultra-long-haul flights when optimal operating conditions can't be met."

Numerous factors can play a role in a diversion including weather and payload, especially on an ultra-long-haul flight such as Johannesburg to Atlanta. Delta hasn't seen a diversion on the route since September 6, the earliest date available for viewing using FlightAware tracking data, and the route only relaunched on August 1. 

One possibility could be a newfound demand for flights out of South Africa leading to fuller flights. The discovery of the Omicron coronavirus variant and the start of travel restrictions imposed by the US government has prompted some travelers to leave South Africa for the US. 

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