Strange NW Diversion MEM-TPA

Hey Guys-

Does anyone know the reason for this diversion? Appears as though they were on the normal path to TPA until they turned around and headed back to MEM about 40 min into the flight. And what’s really strange is that, according to the flight log, they never took the plane above about 10,000 ft. Why would they stay in the air so long at such a low altitude?


I’m going to take a guess and say mechanical issue. Since MEM is a hub for NW, they prob made the decission to head back. I’d guess the reason they stayed low is due to my guess, and the crew was trying to run checks to resolve the issue.

Permalink to flight in question: … /KMEM/KMEM

Should have went to ATL so that the passengers could be moved on into TPA faster. Seems like an easier scenario but what do I know?

MEM has some maintenance staff on duty but it is not a maintenance base for NW. As for the altitude, perhaps a presurrization problem???

MEM has full maintenance for NW. DL maintenance in ATL wouldn’t have any experience with the A320. They’d probably have to call in a 3rd party if the issue was major.

Northwest is only a maintenance base for Pinnacle and Mesaba. They don’t have any full time “TOC” like base mechanics/hangars there. In other words, they have maintenance techs there, but they don’t have a full service shop where heavy mx, if need be, can be done. Everything still has to be flown in like at outstations.

The guys at Delta have experience on Airbus aircraft. But in a situation like that, they were just miles out from ATL (obviously ATL was a way point). They could’ve easily ran into ATL and sent the passengers on their way no problem. But we don’t know what the case was and why it was handled the way it was.

I’ll bet what ever the mx issue was that caused them to turn around was able to be fixed by a line mx, heavy mx facilities would have not been needed. I think it was a judgement call by MSP or where ever their dispatch is centralized.