Smoky Cabins Thwart Two Delta Flights From LaGuardia to Ohio

A Delta Air Lines Inc. jet leaving New York’s LaGuardia Airport for Columbus, Ohio, returned to the gate today because of smoke in the cabin. Then the same thing happened to a different plane less than four hours later.

Flight 6020, operated by the Chautauqua Airlines unit of Indianapolis-based Republic Airways Holdings Inc., had 20 passengers on the 50-seat Embraer 145 jet when smoke was detected and the crew went back to the terminal about 9 a.m., said Carlo Bertolini, a Chautauqua spokesman.

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At around 12:45 p.m., a second Columbus-bound Embraer jet had taken off with 35 passengers when the crew had “an indication of possible smoke as well” and returned to the airport shortly after 1 p.m., Bertolini said. There were no reports of injuries or visible signs of fire, he said.

Both planes had been sprayed with de-icing fluid, which is “definitely a possibility of what could have caused the smoke,” Bertolini said. “We’re checking it out.”

The jets are being “thoroughly inspected” before Chautauqua returns them to service, Bertolini said. De-icing fluid can warm up from the heat of takeoff, possibly creating a smoky smell, Bertolini said.

Passengers were rebooked onto other flights, and Bertolini didn’t immediately know whether any customers had been on both planes. Susan Elliott, a spokeswoman for Atlanta-based Delta, referred calls to Chautauqua.

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