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REPORT: Delta 757 with NBA Team Makes Emergency Landing — After Striking Birds During Takeoff

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


A Delta Air Lines 757-200 carrying the NBA’s Utah Jazz reportedly made an emergency landing today after it struck birds during takeoff — and subsequently had to shut down an engine.

Spencer Burt of Salt Lake City’s Fox 13 said no one was injured.

Quick warning: there are some blood and feathers in the below tweet. And a damaged aircraft. 

The Jazz were en route to Memphis for their game tomorrow night against the Grizzlies.

The charter flight operated as DL8944. According to FlightAware data, the bird plane took off from Salt Lake City International Airport at 1:16 PM and touched back down at SLC at 1:40 PM. FlightRadar24 lists the plane as tail number N651DL. It’s operated 8800 and 8900 series flight numbers, generally reserved for charters.

A Delta Air Lines 757-200 carrying the Utah Jazz was diverted Tuesday, March 30, after reportedly striking birds during takeoff.
(Courtesy of FlightAware.com)

Mr. Burt wrote, “Delta said they are working to find another plane to get the team to their destination. A timeline was not immediately given.”

It looks as though Delta 8847 (tail number N666DN) is already en route from Oklahoma City (OKC) to Salt Lake City, so I’m guessing that’s the team’s “rescue” aircraft. FlightRadar24 already lists a flight plan from MEM back to SLC tomorrow night operating as DL8944.

Call me easily impressed — but that’s a pretty impressive quick fix by Delta, relatively speaking. Sports teams — particularly NBA squads — generally charter planes retrofitted for tall people and that feature “club seating.”

Today’s also a busy travel day for a bunch of Major League Baseball clubs, who are flying to various cities across the USA for Opening Day on Thursday.

And check out this video featuring none other than the Utah Jazz during a road trip.

Final Approach

All’s well that ends well. I’m glad no people were hurt — and impressed Delta started remedying the situation so quickly.

Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


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1 Comment

  1. Nice big first class seats and large bathroom!! I bet they even get Ice and a real good meal!!

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