Minneapolis to Vegas Delta flight lands with pilot locked out of cockpit

A Delta Air Lines flight from Minneapolis made an emergency landing in Las Vegas on Thursday afternoon after the pilot was locked out of the cockpit. The flight landed safely with the co-pilot at the controls, McCarran International Airport spokeswoman Christine Crews told the Associated Press. She said none of the passengers on Delta flight 1651 were injured, and the MD-90 wasn't damaged.

The plane was headed for Vegas and it pulled into its regular gate at McCarran on time around 12:30 p.m. Crews said the door malfunctioned and it will be evaluated by maintenance.

Caught on video

Jonathan Thalacker captured video of the Delta pilot aboard Flight 1651, going row-by-row, reassuring passengers.

"We were about an hour out before we were supposed to land in Vegas, and the captain gets on the PA system and says, ‘Unfortunately I have some bad news…I had to go the bathroom, and when returning from the lavatory I got locked out of the cockpit,'" Thalacker said. "Honestly, my heart kind of went up in my throat for a split second. Once he got into background about the co-pilot, that put me at ease."

Thalacker said the pilot went on to describe the co-pilot's 22 years in the Air Force and 15 years flying for Delta.

"If he would have stood up there and continued to try and mess with the door, I think that would have had people more nervous," he said. "He did a very, very good job. It's definitely a crazy bucket list item I can check off that I didn't realize I needed to check off."

Delta statement

"Prior to final approach, the Captain of Delta flight 1651 from Minneapolis-St. Paul to Las Vegas was not able to reenter the flight deck because of a door jam. A commercial aircraft can be landed with one pilot at the control and Delta pilots are fully trained to do so if the situation were to occur. The First Officer took control and landed the aircraft safely without incident. The door will be evaluated by Delta maintenance technicians."

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