I was flying on a Delta Boeing 737 on my flight back from Atlanta to Newark. It was an exciting experience as I was on the plane taxiing around Atlanta Airport for over 4 hours. The weather in Newark had some thunderstorms in the area, which caused ground stops that kept extending. Interestingly enough, LaGuardia (LGA) and Kennedy (JFK) did not nearly have the same issues as Newark (EWR). Most of the flights from Atlanta to LGA or JFK were only slightly delayed.

Flight Details

Delta Air Lines Flight 2498
Atlanta (ATL) to Newark (EWR)
Departure: 7:31 PM
Arrival: 1:33 AM (Next Day)
Duration: 6 hours 2 minutes
Seat: 15C
Cabin: Main Cabin
Aircraft: Boeing 737-900 (Former Malindo Air plane)

Initial Delay Text

Our flight was originally scheduled to depart at 6:47 pm. About 3 hours before the flight, we received a text that our flight was going to be delayed to 9 pm. Then, we got another text that our flight was only being delayed to 7:30 pm.

Delta Atlanta Sky Club

I really liked the Sky Club in Concourse B that I visited upon my arrival in Atlanta. Before this particular flight, I decided to check out another one and went to the Sky Club in Concourse F which offers an outdoor Sky Deck. The one in Concourse F was disappointing to me, and I definitely recommend going to the one in Concourse B instead.

Silver Medallion Upgrades & This Odd Former Malindo Air 737?

My travel companion on this flight is a Sliver Medallion member on Delta with a Reserve Card, so we were both eligible for an upgrade. There were not a ton of elite members flying on this flight, and so we were 5 & 6/17 on the First Class upgrade list, and 2 & 3/10 for a Comfort Plus Seat.

We would have totally gotten a Comfort Plus Seat, but Delta seems to have bought this old Boeing 737-900 from Malindo Air and didn’t want to invest in adding extra rows of Comfort Plus. So, only 1 row (row 10) which is the bulkhead, is a designated Comfort Plus row. This type of decision-making annoys me and makes me much less encouraged to chase Medallion Status since one of the perks is access to Comfort Plus seating. But if your Delta Boeing 737 only has 6 seats, my chances of getting one of these seats are awfully low.

The other negative of this aircraft is no power outlets in the Main Cabin. The variant is called the “73J” on the Delta website. On the plus side, there was still seat-back entertainment with a good selection of movies, TV shows, live TV, games, Spotify playlists, and a USB port for charging. Additionally, there was free Wi-Fi provided for Skymiles members. Plus, the Wi-Fi worked quite well throughout the whole flight even on the ground.

A Delta Boeing 737 with seats and a television

Row 15

I did find it interesting that the tray tables did not have the cupholder indentation. Rather, the table was just flat all the way.

a Delta Boeing 737 tray table in a plane

Tray Table without a cupholder


Boarding started 40 minutes before our scheduled (delayed) departure. We actually spent a bit too much time at the lounge and arrived at the gate past our Zone 5 boarding group. Thankfully, we were still able to bring on our carry-ons and find space above our seats.

The flight attendants came by to hand out headphones which was nice, and we left the gate at around 7:30 pm. The pilots let us know that Newark had a ground stop due to lightning in the area and that we would taxi to a remote part of the airport and wait for the ground stop to be lifted. He said it should be lifted in about 1 hour so that we could depart around 8:30 pm.

The Flight

Unfortunately, the summer sunset in Atlanta was quite warm (over 95 degrees outside), and when you’re parked somewhere off the runway it can get quite hot. The flight attendants told everyone to pull down their window shades, and the pilots turned off the engines to save fuel, which also made it warmer in the cabin. Thankfully, it wasn’t too bad where I was sitting, but the temperature in the aircraft wasn’t the most pleasant.

The flight attendants handed us water at 8:25 pm, saying that we couldn’t have a full beverage service since we had to ration supplies during this delay. Sadly, the ground stop got extended, so we just kept sitting on the plane. At 8:50 pm, the flight attendants brought out snacks and more water. For the snack, we could choose between a tiny bag of Sun Chips, almonds, cookies, and a granola bar. I liked Kate’s Real Food White Chocolate Macadamia bar.

a small package of food on a napkin

Granola Bar

Sadly, the delay continued, and officially around 10 pm, the pilot announced that we were going back to the gate. This was because we were coming up on the FAA rule that says we cannot be stuck on the runway for 3 hours without being given the opportunity to deplane. At 10:15 pm, we got back to the gate, and paramedics came on board first as a passenger towards the rear of the aircraft had a medical emergency.

Back to the Gate…3 Hours Later.

Then, the pilots announced that you could deplane if you wanted to. But, the catch was that you would have to work out with the customer service agents alternative flights. You could not get back on this flight, which was still scheduled to head to Newark at some point. I checked the Delta app, and there were no other flights available for the night. Plus all of the flights departing the next morning were all sold out. So, I decided to stay on board.

A good amount of passengers began to crowd the aisles and start to deplane. However, it got messy and the pilots had to make a new announcement that all checked bags would be going to Newark on this flight. So, if you got off the flight right now and had a checked bag, you could not get your bag out. This caused a decent amount of passengers to head back to their seats.

I really wish we would be able to roam around the terminal (or chill inside a Sky Club) rather than being stuck at the gate on the aircraft. At 10:45 pm, the flight attendants said that they needed to “refill snacks and catering”, so we were waiting on that.

At 11:15 pm, the pilots let us know that the flight attendants had calculated the food we had onboard and that we would have enough to make it to Newark. They asked us if it would be okay if we didn’t wait for catering. Most passengers were annoyed at this point so they collectively said “Just leave please!” At the same time, however, we were having issues accounting for all the passengers, as some had deplaned I suppose.

Hotel Voucher Time? Is the flight canceled?

AT 11:28 pm, we got text messages for hotel vouchers, so I assumed that our flight had gotten canceled, despite the crew not mentioning anything of that nature.

Delta Boeing 737 delay

Hotel Voucher Time?

But when you clicked on the link to claim it said, “Sorry this offer has been cancelled.”

delta voucher

Guess not lol!

Time for takeoff?

Shortly after we received this at around 11:30 pm, the pilot said we would be departing. We left the gate and started taxiing and quickly took off at 11:39 pm.

The pilots said we would only be in the air for less than 2 hours. We had a full beverage service and snack while in the air.

I was watching a movie, and then landing came by pretty quickly. We touched down in Newark at 1:21 am and got to the gate at 1:31 am. We made it back to Newark!

The Verdict

Overall, it wasn’t fun being stuck on the ground for over 4 hours on this Delta Boeing 737, in a warm aircraft cabin. But, I much preferred this over the flight getting canceled. Perhaps it would have been nicer if they let us off the plane when we came back to the gate. And, if communication from the crew was a bit more polished.


What’s the longest your flight was stuck on the ground for? How was your experience? Comment below!




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