Being Stuck On Tarmac In Phoenix Without Water Makes For Sweatiest YouTube Video Ever

If you haven’t yet had the pleasure of being trapped — without water — on a delayed Delta flight that’s been waiting on the tarmac in 112-degree Arizona heat, one passenger has chronicled his ordeal in a series of quick videos from yesterday. The best — or perhaps worst — part comes at the end of the first clip when he squeegees about a gallon of sweat from his forehead.

Thanks to Chris for the tip!


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  1. Chumas says:

    Oh yes.
    Us bald and shaven headed dudes sweat enough off our heads to soak a shirt collar in less than a minutes time. God damn, I hope noone onboard stroked out from the heat.

    • Draygonia says:

      My god, is his face melting?

    • enad58 says:

      I wonder what would happen if one were to talk to the flight attendant and say “I’ve decided to remove myself from the airplane. I understand I’ll be charged in full for the ticket, but I wish to be let out of the airplane now.” Of course, this would be met with resistance, but how far can they take it?

      • qualia says:

        You still aren’t allowed off.

        • bwcbwc says:

          Under the conditions documented in this video, what charges could be filed against the captain? False imprisonment? Torture?

          This is like the people who leave their kid in the backseat of their car and get charged with child abuse if the kid manages to survive and manslaughter if the kid doesn’t.

    • syzygy says:

      Actually, I think everyone does that. It’s just that we men who lack the gene for male pattern baldness have more hair to soak it up before it runs down our faces or into our shirts.

  2. qwickone says:

    How did the passengers not riot?? Also, can you say you’re being unlawfully detained if you can’t leave without significant financial harm (since you forfeit your ticket if you get off the plane)? I’m asking from a legal perspective – any lawyers out there?

    • myCatCracksMeUp says:

      If some of the passengers did riot, at least 3/4 of the posters here would complain and say the people had entitlement issues and thought they were special. That seems to be what they always say whenever someone defies “authority” and insists on being treated reasonably.

      Under theses circumstances I probabably would revolt, but I don’t know if anyone else would follow or not; one person does not a riot make.

      • halfcuban says:

        Revolt to where exactly? I’ve never understood the logic of people feigning to commit violence on an airplane for being stuck in it; what are you going to do, force the Flight Attendant under threat of violence to open the door on a runway? Or are you going to take over the cockpit and drive the plane back, without crashing it and with no radio communication, back to the gate?

        • Difdi says:

          Why does it take a flight attendant to open a door?

          If it’s not an emergency, then the airline will, of course, provide air conditioning, food, water and restroom facilities, either on the plane or back at the terminal. All of this is easily arranged if the situation is not an emergency.

          However, during an emergency, it might well be impossible to provide these things. But then again, there are cheerfully colored manuals at every seat on how to properly evacuate the plane during an emergency. Just follow the clearly printed instructions!

    • SpamMeNot says:

      Airlines fall into the “common carrier” category and, essentially, are not subject to the same rules of Tort law as individuals or those not considered common carriers. One of the biggest exceptions for liability of airlines that we’re all familiar with is the “act of nature.” Of course, if the airline was grossly negligent in ensuring the safety of its passengers (as may be the case here), this guy definitely has a valid claim against Delta.

  3. CreativeLinks says:

    112 Degree with no water? My god, we treat prisioners of war better than this. Someone needs to notify the UN to invade Delta.

    • taney71 says:


    • Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

      No we don’t. We strap ’em to a plank, tilt ’em over, and give them all the water they want right up the nose.

      • CreativeLinks says:

        Hmmmm….you know, that STILL sounds better then flying Delta.

        • Liam Kinkaid says:

          I don’t condone torture, but this reply did make me chuckle. Now I feel bad.

          • shadowhh says:

            Actually the water boarding wouldn’t leave permanent damage. Being in a plane for a long period in that heat could.

            • Link_Shinigami says:

              And you at least get water…

            • qualia says:

              Waterboarding is (barely) controlled drowning. It’s entirely possible for someone to breathe in enough water to contract pneumonia, or to actually drown. If they can’t get a guy to start breathing again quick enough, there can be brain damage.

              Honestly, “THIS suffocation is safe!” Some people will buy anything.

        • ARP says:

          OK, the whole torture is wrong thing aside, this is funny.

    • AngryK9 says:

      DELTA = Dehydrate Every Last Ticket-holder Aboard

      DELTA is such an easy word to come up with acronyms for…

  4. SixOfOne says:

    How do airlines get away with keeping people in a metal tube in that kind of heat without at least giving them water??

    • Buckus says:

      Because the Execs fly on their own private planes and have no idea of the discomfort and general suckiness a delay like this is.

  5. anime_runs_my_life says:

    If he was on an SD80, those things are ovens, not to mention you’re packed like sardines in there. It doesn’t help when you’re delayed. DFW is just as bad in terms of heat when you’re waiting. We were delayed on the tarmac waiting to take off for about half an hour after emergency maintenance was done on our plane. They turned off the air so as not to waste fuel, but it was friggin hot – 90 degrees with an index close to 100 due to humidity.

    • AngryK9 says:

      I’d be a bit concerned if he was in an SD80 on an airport tarmac. Maybe an MD-80? ;)

      MD-80 series…MD-90 series…All narrow-bodied aircraft. One room…sardine cans they are. Been on one cleaning it while in the hangar. Quite the sweat shop when they’re not running an engine. I was glad when maintenance decided to hook up the ground air conditioning unit….

  6. NarcolepticGirl says:

    I am so glad I have never been in that situation.
    Has there always been so many incidents of tarmac holding? It seems like in the last 2-3 years, there’s a story about it once a week.

    • NarcolepticGirl says:

      Example – over the weekend, Author John Robinson (Augusten Burrough’s brother), updated his Facebook with:

      “I got on this United flight to DC at 1. It’s now 4:45 and we are still on the ground. My San Fran trip is getting chancy. Flight attendants have become surly. When asked they explain that they are off the clock till takeoff, dealing with a planeload of irate Travelers for free”

      “Finally arrived in DC, only to find the Frisco plane is out of service. Two more hours of delay, and they tell me I have been bumped to tomorrow. I find a helpful supervisor and he puts me on board. But we’re still at the gate because the galley never got provisioned. Good going, United! I’ll be late but I’ll be there.”

    • Doubts42 says:

      Demand keeps growing and the infrastructure doesn’t. Take an aging air fleet, a limited number of runways, and an outdated and overstressed flight control system, add an ever increasing number of passengers and flights. Now just count yourself lucky to ever have left the ground.

      • NewsMuncher says:

        High-Speed Trains.
        Or a subway system built on the Gears of War model.

        • huadpe says:

          Unfortunately this isn’t viable outside of the Northeast, possibly an area as large as the eastern seaboard.

          Existing rail lines are too twisted and crowded to accommodate very fast trains even if freight-company owners wanted to (and they don’t). So you would need to build new, very straight, rail lines. This means demolishing alot of people’s houses and farms (you can’t turn to get out of the way of stuff; it has to be a pretty straight line). This isn’t acceptable, from a political or financial perspective.

          Subways have the same problem as above…and are 10x as expensive.

  7. Thyme for an edit button says:

    That’s totally unacceptable. I don’t know how carriers get away with this kind of thing. They should be held to a high standard considering their customers have no way to exit the plane. Why is there no A/C? Why are they not letting the passengers off the plane??

    • ARP says:

      Turning on AC means turning on engines, since the batteries would run out quickly. If you’re waiting for a few hours, you may use up too much fuel and have to return to the gate (it’s also bad to turn the engines on and off so many times). This is especially so, given that more airlines are calculating fuel requirements with tighter margins.

      • Buckus says:

        Airplanes have a small generator at the back of the plane for running electric stuff w/out the main engines turning on. It’s not on battery, but it does use fuel. If they were trying to fix something electrical, they may have turned it off. Who knows, it doesn’t seem like there’s much detail here.

  8. Yankees368 says:

    look like an MD-88, the same plane which had its AC break at LGA when it was over 100′ out. We were in the air and had to return to LGA. I know what this guy went through!

  9. NarcolepticGirl says:

    Also – are airlines going to wait until someone dies of a heat stroke until they stop doing this shit?

    • SixOfOne says:

      That’s probably what it’s going to take before they start treating their people waiting on the tarmac like people instead of animals. And even then, my inner cynic doubts it.

      • Conformist138 says:

        I’d have a problem with an animal being left like that, too. I know it happens (a lot, too often), but it’s still wrong.

      • Difdi says:

        Actually, they can’t treat animals that way right now. Animal cruelty laws would have them in prison for decades if they treated animals that way.

    • DJ Charlie says:

      No. They’ll keep doing it after that. And probably charge the person’s family a cargo fee for transporting a body afterwards.

    • Thyme for an edit button says:

      Probably. It might be more profitable to pay off any claims against them than fix the problem

      Like the Ford Pinto exploding gas tanks… of course, Ford got hit with big punitive damages when the court got wind of their business plan to just pay out on any deaths and injuries rather than fix the problem.

  10. SerenityDan says:

    With my medical problems they are lucky I was not on the flight or the headline would be “Man rushed to hospital with heat stroke after being stuck in oven like plane” Of course for the same reason I would never be in Phoenix in the first place.

  11. pantheonoutcast says:

    “I’m going to get yelled at for filming right now.”

    It’s scary how complacent and fearful of “authority” we have become as a society. Can anyone think of a time where this guy would have had 20 or 30 people on his side making the same complaints, refusing to sit quietly in their seats, and vocally demanding water be served? An entire generation of people chained themselves to the entrance doors of University lecture halls demanding the end of a war they knew nothing about, and then went on to have children who won’t even stand up for their own personal rights without a passive-agressively worded letter, threats from an attorney, or a YouTube video.

    You know what would have made a more entertaining video? 20 people chanting “give us water now!” until the airline capitulated.

    • CityGuySailing says:

      The pilot would have returned the jet to the terminal, and ALL of the passengers would be met by the FBI and promptly arrested for interfering with a flight crew.

      • pantheonoutcast says:

        Good. 20 people being arrested for asking for water in a 112 degree immobile metal tube will ultimately do more for the cause than one guy making a series of 40-second YouTube videos.

        • grapedog says:

          they will be kicked off the plane, they will lose their money/tickets, have to find any flight immediately, paying out even more money, and will be left with little to no recourse because this country is so anti-consumer, it’s ridiculous, sometimes. Though, I guess we’re better than China…

          • Conformist138 says:

            The more we fear these results, the longer it will take for them to finally be forced into the public eye. Take the punishment cuz, yeah, a bunch of people being arrested for wanting water in that kind of heat would be a big deal. We’re pretty apathetic as a country, but that would probably rub most people the wrong way.

    • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

      Due to a lack of devoted followers, the production of leaders has been discontinued.

    • DingoAndTheBaby says:

      “…demanding the end of a war they knew nothing about.”

      Hahahaha. While I agree with your post about complacency, citing a movement in which the protestors seemingly protest for the sake of it doesn’t help your cause.

  12. Retired Again says:

    Happens to me ………. I will slowly enlist some help, try to open door/hatch and activate emergency slide. Ridiculous no power truck came out to plug in for air, no deliveries of water, no allowing people to leave. People with health concerns have to take their survival in their own hands,
    The PILOTS are able to open side access windows for breeze or at least fresh air.

    • outlulz says:

      I think it’s a federal crime to tamper with the emergency exits. It’s not worth the jail time.

      • sqlrob says:

        I’d call heat like that with no water an emergency.

        It says “Emergency Exit”, not “Crash Exit”

  13. ldavis480 says:

    That’s nothing… Our US Airways flight to Maui from Phoenix (about 3 weeks ago) lost its starboard engine about an hour into the flight. It had to land back in Phoenix (hard, I might add) with one engine. There were emergency vehicles waiting for us on the tarmac. We sat at the Phoenix airport the rest of the day and they eventually just cancelled the flight. No umbrella protruding drink for me that day ;-)

    • NarcolepticGirl says:

      Oh that sucks. I would have been terrified. Did they announce the reason why you guys were landing in Phoenix?

    • satoru says:

      As they say in the business, any flight you can walk away from is a good one.

    • phonic says:

      Wow. My wife and I went on our honeymoon in April, and we took that same flight to Maui. Can’t imagine how we would have reacted if that happened to us.

      ESPECIALLY since Maui was our last minute backup plan, since our original trip was to London and Rome. Reason for the backup plan? Fucking Iceland.

  14. JamieSueAustin says:

    112 and no water? I would have had a seizure, passed out, or both. Seriously. I was not physically designed for high temperatures. Things like make up my nightmares. Of course, if I did have a seizure I would have been considered “disruptive”, tasered, then removed from the plane in the manner best befitting uncooperative livestock.

  15. Awesome McAwesomeness says:

    It is beyond me why no one pretended to convulse, then faint. I certainly would have created quite a ruckus. I’ve got some pretty good acting skills.

    • Vanilla5 says:

      I have a friend who can vomit on cue. It would’ve been gross but we woulda got off that plane for sure when she was done.

      • DoubleBaconVeggieBurger says:

        She must be a riot at dinner parties.

      • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

        I have a lap band and if I shove a few dry saltines down, I can definitely upchuck them within a few seconds. I need to remind myself to do this on my next flight.

  16. benbell says:

    So tell me, what happens if a pregnant woman is on the flight? It could be very dangerous for a woman in her mid to late second trimester to be in a situation like that.

    I already know what I would do if it we me and my wife (who is pregnant) were on a plane like that. Bust out my iPhone and start calling every news agency I can get ahold of.

    All it takes is one large local agency or one national agency to run a short headline along the lines of ‘Pregnant woman and children stuck aboard Delta flight in Phoenix with no water’ and shit hits the fan.

    • pantheonoutcast says:

      Yes, but your pregnant wife doesn’t deserve water any more than anyone else. Pregnant, diabetic, elderly, infant, crippled, lesbian – it doesn’t matter. “HUMAN denied water in 112 degree metal box” should be enough of a headline.

      Also, “Bust out my iPhone and start calling every news agency I can get ahold of” is insufficient. If me or one of my loved ones was suffering due to the negligence of an airline, I’d be spending my time getting them some water, one way or another. Call the news media once you’ve secured some water. “Man gets arrested for getting bottle of water for pregnant wife” has a much better ring to it, anyway.

      • benbell says:

        The issue with that is… if little Mrs. flight attendant who isn’t getting paid orders me to sit down as I try to get my family water and I don’t, I have just committed a federal crime. It is obvious that internally to the plane, nothing can be done, but with some external push you could have water and/or A/C.

        • pantheonoutcast says:

          You think that if you call a news agency while sitting on the tarmac, the airline is going to magically and instantaneously turn on the AC and bring a round of drinks for everyone? By the time that anyone on the outside knew what was going on, and had the capacity to act on it, the plane would be in the air.

          You know who else committed federal crimes? Martin Luther King. Sadly, we don’t have that sort of commitment anymore from the populace at large. We have bloggers and people with their attorneys on speed dial, but no one willing to sacrifice anything for the greater good.

      • Pinkbox says:

        Maybe she doesn’t deserve it more, but it would get more media attention.

        Although, speaking as a pregnant women in the middle of her second trimester, I’ve gotten incredibly light headed and almost passed out several times on account of the heat in the area I live in lately – and that’s in the shade and almost always with something cold to drink at hand.

        Never happened when I wasn’t pregnant. I can’t wait for autumn to get here. Ugh!

      • qualia says:

        It’s more newsworthy if you endanger people who are easily made sick or injured, like pregnant women, old people, small children and infants.

    • Skankingmike says:

      I’m pretty sure you shouldn’t be flying when you’re that late in pregnancy. So why were they on the plane to begin with?

      • benbell says:


        The best time to travel when pregnant is late first into the beginning of the third trimester. In addition, it is generally safe to fly up to 36 weeks which is well into the 3rd trimester.

        Regardless, during any of these times, a pregnant woman needs to have adequate water as well as make sure that their core body temperature does not rise.

  17. howie_in_az says:

    Why didn’t any of the passengers call 911?

  18. DanKelley98 says:

    There are some significant health issues at play here.

  19. Hoot says:

    Why was there no water? In all flights that I’ve sat on when there were delays (all less than about an hour and a half), flight attendants came around often with cups and water. There’s always a ton of bottles of water. Did they willfully refuse to serve these people what they had?

    (I can’t hear the video at work so maybe he says?)

  20. Nogard13 says:

    Wait, did the guy just say he was going to get in trouble for filming in that last clip? Why would he get in trouble for filming?

  21. NumberSix says:

    The crappyness of this situation aside, folks need to start learning that the airlines are irresponsible a-holes.

    You need to assume that there is no food or water on the plane and pack some in your carry on. As big a bottle of water as you dare carry and some MRE type food that you can just open and eat. I use things like this for food…

    Don’t forget your spork.

  22. INsano says:

    We are currently looking into the issue, though we cannot confirm any such rumors at this time. At Delta we strive to make our customers’ travels as enjoyable as possible and offer beverages for purchase once a flight is airborne. We advise travelers to properly hydrate before long trips.

    –Your helpful Public Relations employee whore

    Let’s see…”it probably didn’t happen”-check. “state the complete opposite of what happened as a matter of policy”-check. “it’s probably the customer’s own fault.”-check

    Sweet, job well done.

    • Thyme for an edit button says:


      Even if these folks were “properly hydrated” beforehand, they sure damn well weren’t after sweating it all out.

  23. maztec says:

    Oh, yes, Phoenix. I try to avoid flying in and out of there. This happened to me in 2008. I sat on the tarmac for 6 hours, no air conditioning, no getting on and off, no service. They had miscounted the number of bags put into the plain. It was so hot that they could only work for 5 minutes at a time on the tarmac before getting a 10 minute “indoor” break. We sat there watching them unload it very slowly and then reload it very slowly. What a nightmare.

    Good to see they are still up to their old tricks. Except, I thought they weren’t allowed to do this anymore …

  24. xamarshahx says:

    i’m feeling claustrophobic just watching this

  25. Tvhargon says:

    That’s “oven-like” not “oven like”; unless the oven likes something.

  26. pinkbunnyslippers says:

    can anyone tell me how long they were on the plane, doors closed? I can’t tell from the videos (unless I missed it)

  27. kursk says:

    And that is exactly why I quit shaving my head. Lord do you sweat like crazy and never realize what a difference your hair makes until it’s not there. Yes, I am a bad Hare Krishna, but at least my collars aren’t stained yellow.

  28. DidIDoThat says:

    I hope there weren’t any family pets below.

  29. roscoe says:

    Inexcusable! I hate to use the Nazi comparison but how far is this concept removed from the trains used to take Jews to the camps? If it’s in the same sphere of comparison it’s inexcusable! When people act like sheep they allow themselves to be treated like sheep. For corporations to take away people’s freedom of when they can reasonably choose to leave a situation they think is against their best interest it flies in the face of what this country is supposed to be about. Corporate officers could care less about you unless they’re forced to. One person taking action is punished in this situation. A planeload is force for change. If you find yourselves in this situation get together and force the change to something more reasonable.