Delta Airlines Cargo Door Falls Open, Raining Luggage Down On Chicagoland

The dufflebags were hitting the ground like sacks of wet cement near Midway airport on Sunday, according to the Chicago Tribune. Officials are still trying to figure out what caused the cargo door of a Delta (Atlantic Southeast, to be precise) airliner to come open, spilling bags out of the airplane thousands of feet above Chicagoland.

Delta Flight No. 4718 took off about 9:40 a.m. and was forced to circle back to Midway shortly after takeoff when a pressure problem in the cabin was detected and instruments showed a cargo door had opened during flight, FAA spokeswoman Elizabeth Isham Cory said.

After the plane landed safely and taxied to the gate, a crew inspecting the plane found one of the two cargo doors ajar, said Kate Modolo, a spokeswoman for Atlantic Southeast. A baggage inventory determined two pieces of luggage were gone.

One of the bags was found about a half mile from Midway airport, and Delta is still in the process of reuniting the bag with its owner. The other one is still missing.

We are not sure if Delta was under the impression that dufflebags could fly.

Officials find bag that fell from jet near Midway [Chicago Tribune] (Thanks, Daniel!)


Edit Your Comment

  1. muckpond says:

    i’m sure there’s some joke i could make about the fact that the next headline talks about “speedy luggage delivery,” but it really writes itself.

  2. good thing that midway is in such a nice neighborhood. All the baggage will certainly be reunited with its proper owner.

  3. faust1200 says:

    Stupid gravity.

  4. bohemian says:

    For some reason this caused me to laugh uncontrollably. Maybe it was the visions of luggage raining down all over Chicago, or the WKRP turkey reference.

  5. CurbRunner says:

    This was probably a load of previously lost luggage being delivered directly to Chicago.

  6. RISwampyankee says:

    OMG, the KRP turkey drop episode! Quite possibly one of the funniest sit com episodes ever. Thanks for the belly laugh and my sympathies to the poor SOB who lost his/her bag.

  7. a says:

    :( Am I the only person terrified about pet carriers almost sliding out?

  8. Maulleigh says:

    That would have been my bag.

  9. Jay Levitt says:

    Lauren, nope – I was just thinking that this is a really lousy time for me to read this story, as I’m considering a cross-country flight with two cats…

  10. rubyist says:

    That sounds bad but 2 bags isn’t exactly “raining down” ;)

  11. Chicago7 says:

    “God is my witness, I thought those bags could fly”


  12. chartrule says:

    from reading the tag line I would of thought It was all the baggage on board the aircraft

  13. JayXJ says:
  14. JayXJ says:

    @JayP71: I love cats, but just couldn’t resist posting that.

  15. ry81984 says:

    When bags fly….

  16. laineylain says:

    It’s better than another Hootie & The Blowfish bus crap incident.

  17. humphrmi says:

    Kudos on the picture, Meg!

  18. laineylain says:

    LOL I just realized I meant Dave Matthews Band. My apologies to Hootie and the Blowfish.

  19. dazette says:

    Laineylain–That was Dave Matthews’ tour bus, not Hootie’s but you’re right about the poop dump.

  20. thalia says:

    @LaurenKitsune: That was my first thought!!! :( Especially since I was thinking of flying overseas with my two kitties!

  21. Spencer says:

    I wonder if anyone got hurt. That is the neighborhood I grew up in and it was congested even then (like 15 years ago).

  22. ptkdude says:

    “Officials are still trying to figure out what caused the cargo door of a Delta (Atlantic Southeast, to be precise) airliner to come open, spilling bags out of the airplane thousands of feet above Chicagoland.”

    Officials need look no further than the name on the side of the plane: ASA

  23. spidra says:


    Took the words right out of my mouth. Consumerist always selects such great pictures, but this one is perhaps the most sublime ever.

  24. IdleHands... says:

    This would never have happened on Lufthansa.

  25. Neurotic1 says:

    I worked for Delta for a number of years and believe me, the things I’ve seen would shock even the most seasoned traveler. The event described in the article about the faulty indicator light is not all that uncommon. To save costs, Delta will defer certain maintenance items. What’s scray in this instance is that once the indicator light goes out, the flight crew has no choice but the rely on the word of the ground crew to confirm that the door is closed properly. Often, the door is closed properly once, but then late bags would show up at the gate requiring the ground crew to open and close the door, each time adding to the chance that the door is not latched correctly. Add to that the apathy and low morale of ground crews dealing with recent cuts in benefits and pay, contracting out of their jobs, and insufficient staffing, and you’ve got a recipe for trouble. The bag could have been very easily been sucked up into the engine, which in these types of airplanes are located right above the cargo door, and outcome would have been much much worse. Unfortunately, in the airline industry, companies often are not as proactive as they claim to be and it takes a disaster for certain things to be addressed.

  26. Flibbetigibbet says:

    ASA. What a surprise.


  27. ErinYay says:

    @LaurenKitsune: This, among many other reasons, is why I will not fly my dogs in cargo (which is the only place my big ole guys can go, so… drive we must!) Due to the Boris Bill, airlines have to report “incidents” regarding animals in cargo. You can find more information here:

    In one year’s time, there were a total of 28 deaths, 22 injuries, and 6 losses, with Continental leading the way in killing our pets for money!

    Back to the topic at hand: this is why you always carry-on. /Robert DeNiro voice

  28. LetMeGetTheManager says:

    Can you just imagine driving down the street and having a duffle bag or suitcase slam onto your car hood?

  29. edgarj455 says:

    I taught my duffel bag to fly. It could happen! Meg! were any MUPES involved

  30. EddiePickle says:






  31. Nemesis_Enforcer says:

    @Neurotic1: Makes me wonder what all the crap in the NASA report is. They won’t release it because it will undermine the public’s confidence in the airlines….does anyone really have confidence in the airlines really? Oh and because it will cost airlines money if the story is released…bummer. Maybe if they just oh I don’t know actually did thier freakin jobs we wouldn’t have to worry so much..

  32. Nemesis_Enforcer says:

    @HappyPuppy: When I returned to the US after living in Germany for 3 years I brought back my wife’s dachsund’s. Lufthansa treated us great and we had zero problems. Arrive in the US for our connector via Delta. They lost both dogs within 20 min. in the freakin airport! We were livid, they needed fresh food and water and a walk. It took them almost an hour to find them and bring them to us. Once we got to our destination it took them almost 65 min to get them unloaded and rought out to us. And it was a small airport. Grrr Delta sucks.

  33. NoWin says:

    @faust1200: Stupid gravity.


  34. foghat81 says:

    late to the game, but KUDOS on the pic and headline!

    Such a great show. In a perfect world it would be on DVD w/ the original music. Ah well

  35. Neurotic1 says:


    Your comment reminds me to mention that the extra charge that Delta charges you does absolutely nothing towards ensuring your loved pets are taken care of properly. Delta doesn’t even have a procedure to give animals water. I use to often resort to buying bottled water out of employee vending machines to be able to pour water into bowls inside kennels.

  36. Spiny Norman says:

    Note to Consumeristas out there: Carry on!

    “That’s not flying. That’s falling with style.”

  37. Crazytree says:

    they’re lucky.

    cargo door failures would have spelled D-E-A-T-H 20 years ago… the DC-10 was notorious for blowing the F up when the cargo doors would fail.. and they would.

  38. jburland says:


    Happened twice, which doesn’t actually qualify as “notorious”.
    AA96 12 June 1972 suffered explosive decompression due to a cargo door failure. []

    The design flaw was identified at the time and a service bulletin issued.

    TK981 on 3 March 1974 was operated by TC-JAV, an aircraft that was delivered 3 months after issuance of the service bulletin and which had not been modified accordingly by the manufacturer.