Four Hospitalized After 'Sweet, Burning' Odor Fills Alaska Airlines Flight

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An Alaska Airlines flight was diverted from its destination on Wednesday night after its crew reported smelling a mysterious odor in the cabin. Passengers were reportedly having trouble breathing and four crew members were taken to a hospital for further medical evaluation. This is the second time this week that an Alaska Airlines flight was grounded after the crew noticed an unfamiliar smell.

According to local Minneapolis outlet KARE 11, the flight was traveling to Chicago from Seattle when the smell began to permeate the cabin. As a precautionary measure, the Boeing 737-900 was diverted to Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport.

KARE 11 spoke with some of the passengers and says they all described a similar “sweet, burning smell.” Some passengers reportedly began to feel light-headed, nauseous, and had trouble breathing. The airline said six crew members and two passengers were medically examined at the airport and four of the crew were hospitalized. Patrick Hogan, a spokesperson for the airport told multiple outlets that the patients reported having “respiratory issues.”


Alaska Airlines did not immediately respond to a request for comment sent by Gizmodo, but the airline told KARE 11 it was still investigating the source of the odor and the plane has been pulled from service.

A remarkably similar incident occurred on Tuesday when an Alaska Airlines flight from Seattle to Orange County had to turn around after the crew reported a strange odor in the cabin. In that case, Ano passengers reported any symptoms, but the pilots and flight attendant were taken to a hospital for further evaluation.


We’ll update this post when we receive more information. Here’s the full statement that Alaska Airlines shared with KARE 11:

Alaska Airlines Flight 51 departed Chicago O’Hare for Seattle at 5:48 p.m. local time. During the flight, the crew reported a cabin odor. As a precaution, the aircraft diverted to Minneapolis-St Paul International landing at 7:17 p.m. local time.

Six crewmembers received a medical evaluation at the airport and four were transported to the hospital for further evaluation. Two passengers were also evaluated at the airport. The cause of the odor is being investigated and the plane has been removed from service pending an inspection.

The flight [w]as canceled and passengers will be rebooked on a different flight to Seattle.


[KARE 11, NBC News]