ASHEVILLE, NC (WMBF) – An Allegiant flight bound for Myrtle Beach International Airport from Indianapolis, Indiana was forced to make an emergency landing in Asheville, North Carolina Sunday after the crew noticed a burning smell, multiple outlets are reporting.
Spencer Ryan was aboard the flight and was heading to Myrtle Beach for a honeymoon with his wife.
"The flight was going smooth until we heard them make an announcement that we were making a stop in Knoxville, TN due to a smell in the plane so they could check things out and that it wouldn't take long," Ryan said in Facebook message. They were then told they would be landing at the airport in Asheville as it would be better to land there.
The crew declared an emergency and landed at Asheville Regional Airport at 4:15 p.m. Sunday. Allegiant officials told WYFF that an emergency declaration is standard procedure in events like this so the correct vehicles and personnel will be available upon landing.
Ryan said there were three public safety vehicles waiting on the runway.
The plane taxied to the gate without incident, WYFF reports.
The passengers were told they did not find any issues with the plane, but for safety reasons, it would not be flying them to their destination. Ryan said. They waited for a new plane to arrive.
Allegiant sent a new plane to pick up the passengers. That flight took off from Asheville Regional Airport at 9:52 p.m. and landed safely at Myrtle Beach International Airport at 10:29 p.m. Sunday, according to FlightAware. Ryan said there were additional delays to take off on the new plane, and at one point, passengers who were tired of the delays "started yelling back" at the flight crew.
Emergency crews did not find any smoke or fire upon inspecting the plane, Allegiant officials said. The cause of the burning smell is still under investigation.
Some people WMBF News spoke with at MYR Monday say they will think twice before flying Allegiant after hearing about this incident.
"I mean, it's really scary," Heather Murray, who is visiting Myrtle Beach from Canada said. "People are coming for a holiday, trying to have a good time. You would expect to arrive safety without any issue."
But others who flew on different Allegiant flights Monday say it could happen to any plane on any airline.
"They had a problem, but they landed safely," Jim Bolig said. "The welfare of their passengers was number one."
Ryan said the delayed passengers were offered drinks and snacks while they waited, in addition to a food voucher and a $50 Allegiant voucher.
"My wife and I are celebrating our honeymoon and lost half a day of beach but it is definitely a memory we won't forget," Ryan said.