Delayed landing in Atlanta blamed on controller 'joke'

The pilot of Delta Flight 630 from Detroit canceled his landing on June 11, 2014, after the air traffic controller told him not to land and to circle the airport instead. (USA Today)

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After telling the pilot not to land, the controller said, “I’m kidding, Delta 630. After you land, I’ve got no one behind you. Expect to exit right.”

By then, the pilot had already aborted the landing, ascending from about 1,000 feet back up to 40,000 feet. The plane circled at that altitude for more than an hour before landing safely.

The FAA released a statement confirming it was investigating: “The FAA is investigating air traffic communications with Delta 630, a Boeing 777 aircraft on approach to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport."