The Allegiant Air flight from St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport June 22 was bound for South Bend, Indiana, but never made it. The flight made an about-face when overheated passengers began complaining.
"I don't sweat and I was dripping," passenger Karen Willey told the Tampa Bay Times.
Passengers were met by St. Petersburg Fire and Rescue service personnel at the gate when the flight returned. The rescuers reported treating two people for symptoms of overheating; the airport says four passengers received treatment, according to the Tampa Bay Times. An Allegiant spokesperson said the trouble was caused by a cooling valve malfunction during the flight.
The spokesperson also said no passengers actually fainted, though the pilot called first responders because a flight attendant reported feeling faint.
There are currently no Federal Aviation Administration rules governing cabin temperatures, though the 50,000-strong Association of Flight Attendants has been lobbying Congress for years to set a maximum of 80 degrees, Raw Story reports.
"Bottom line, the airlines and regulators do not consider temperature to be a safety issue. Therefore, it's low on the list of priorities when it comes to on-time departure," union spokeswoman Taylor Garland told NBC.
This is not the first time heat has been an issue on Allegiant flights. In 2013, several passengers on a delayed Allegiant Air flight in Las Vegas were sickened as the plane baked on the runway in the desert heat.