WASHINGTON (CNN) — A Delta Air Lines plane carrying 203 passengers and 15 crew members was turned back from Russian air space Wednesday after Russian air traffic control authorities said the plane did not have the proper overflight permission, a Delta spokesman said.Flight 55 was then diverted to San Francisco, where it landed Wednesday night.
The non-stop flight left Atlanta at 10:05 a.m. Wednesday destined for Narita, Japan, spokesman Russ Williams told CNN. The 14-hour flight from Atlanta to Japan was 20 minutes into Russian air space when the flight crew was informed by Russian air traffic control it did not have the proper permission to fly there. The plane was turned around near Litski, Russia.
Weary passengers interviewed as they arrived in San Francisco said they were tired and look forward to getting sleep after spending 14 hours in the air during the truncated flight.
"They wouldn't let us is in their air space," said passenger David Davis. "It was kind of scary."Williams, the airline spokesman, said: "From Delta's perspective, we believe we did file the proper paperwork, but we'll certainly be looking into the matter."
The plane is an MD-11. The original flight path from Atlanta to Japan covers 6,850 miles.
FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown told CNN that two other planes from United States' airlines flew through Russian airspace after the Delta flight with no problems.