JustPlanes From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 895 posts, RR: 0 Posted (6 years 7 months 2 weeks 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 3397 times:
Have a look at Flightaware... looks like the 767 en route from San Francisco to JFK held over Chicago in 2 locations before proceeding, passing Detroit and then turning back and diverting there...
Normally the flight time from SFO to JFK is under 5hrs... today he was already over 5hrs when he landed at Detroit...
Quoting BP1 (Reply 1): could have been a sick passenger
Having a sick passenger wouldn't explain the holding west of Chicago
Quoting BP1 (Reply 1): there are ATC restrictions in the NYC area this afternoon.
Yes, and they're being driven by the line of thunderstorms west of the NYC area, and that will soon hit EWR, LGA, and JFK themselves. If the aircraft can't get to the airport, and end up holding west of the NYC area, New York ARTCC gets backed up and eventually Cleveland ARTCC can't give NY any more handoffs and eventually Cleveland can't take any more handoffs from Chicago ARTCC, which is why you saw AAL24 holding where he was. Enroute holding (versus terminal-area holding) isn't the norm, and having used up fuel that they'd have almost certainly needed later for terminal area holding (or getting a subsequent holding delay that they couldn't tolerate fuel-wise), it was time to land short of the intended destination. I'd expect that any major airport west of the NYC/BOS areas is going to have lots of drop-in diversions.