Delta spokeswoman Chris Kelly Singley said Flight 414 departed Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport at 6 p.m. Sunday and landed at Tampa International Airport at 7:34 p.m. The captain made the call to land, the spokeswoman said. After the "unruly" passengers were removed, the plane went on to Costa Rica, she said.
Tampa International Airport spokeswoman Janet Zink identified the passengers as Peter and Gabriele Strohmaier of Dusseldorf, Germany. She said they were seated in first class and demanding food and champagne and refused to sit down.
Zink said no charges had been filled. The FBI and Transportation Security Administration were investigating.
Reached at the Tampa hotel where the couple was spending Sunday night, Gabriele Strohmaier told The Associated Press that a Delta crew member "exaggerated enormously and felt terribly insulted" after her husband raised concerns about the food and beverage service.
She said her husband had asked for a glass of champagne, but was told it was all gone. She said the crew member then walked away rather than listen to his concerns. She denied that she or her husband was told to sit down and refused.
"No, we were not standing," she said.
Peter Strohmaier, who identified himself as a lawyer, said he "did nothing except to say I would like to have the meal and so on...all normal things."
He said the Delta crew member told him she was not pleased with his attitude.
"I am not prepared to accept such behavior," he said, adding that in the end he didn't get champagne, a meal or even water. The couple had flown to the U.S. from Germany earlier in the day.
Gabriele Strohmaier said the couple need to "take another airline, naturally not Delta" to get to Costa Rica.