On January 1, 2020, Delta Airlines flight DL8817 from Mexico City (Mexico) reached the destination in New York (the United States) with over nine hours of delay. Unconfirmed reports on social media indicate that the incident was caused by a fire in the Boeing 757 left engine.

Delta Airlines flight DL8817 was due to take off from Mexico City International Airport (MEX) on the first day of the year at 9.20 am, and expected to arrive at its destination, John F. Kennedy International Airport, four hours later. Instead, the flight landed in the United States shortly after midnight the following day, a 9 hours 45 minutes delay, according to flightaware.com and flightradar24.com data. 

Reports on social media indicate that the delay might have been caused by visible smoke or flames coming out of one of the Boeing 757 aircraft engines during the engine start-up phase.  Another version indicates that engine start-up simply frightened a passenger who activated an emergency slide. 

Update: Delta Airlines spokesperson has confirmed the incident to AeroTime News, explaining that the flight was indeed delayed due to a passenger who opened the aircraft door. "I can confirm that flight 8817 was specifically delayed because of a passenger who opened the emergency exit door over the aircraft wing," the spokesperson wrote via emai. "No one exited the aircraft via the over wing slide, and no injuries were reported."

The aircraft allegedly involved in the incident, registration number N687DL, is a 21.7 years Boeing 757-200. Delta Airlines has 127 Boeing 757 narrowbodies (including 111 Boeing 757-200s) in its fleet of 907 aircraft. 

While the 757 airliners have been an immense part of the U.S. carrier’s fleet, with the first ones having arrived in the early 90s, their time is coming to an end. “We have almost 200 aircraft between the 757s and 767s that we need to replace over the next decade,” Edward H. Bastian, the CEO of Delta Airlines, said in March 2019. While it is not yet know which aircraft would become the replacement of 757, this precise Delta’s need to find a replacement has been seen as one of a possible driving forces to convince Boeing to commit to a new, middle of the market aircraft concept, commonly referred to as the Boeing NMA.