A Delta Airlines flight had to make not one but two return landings after the crew heard a loud banging sound onboard. Passengers onboard Flight 284 heading from Atlanta to London on 2 January were forced to de-board twice over safety concerns.

According to the airline's spokesperson, the plane was scheduled to fly out of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport at 8 pm ET Wednesday. However, minutes after takeoff, the pilot heard an unusual noise and decided to turn back.

At the time, a Delta representative told ABC affiliate WSB that the 216 passengers would be seated on a replacement flight set to take off at 12:11 am.

Soon after the craft was in the air, the crew again heard a loud banging sound and was forced to turn around "out of an abundance of safety", according to FlightAware data.

"It was like someone dropping a lead ball on the floor," Alex Brown, a passenger onboard the flight, told Channel 2. "And (a Delta official) came back on and said we're going to turn around. Everything is OK with the airplane but... we're going to turn around."

Instead of putting the passengers on yet another replacement flight, Delta opted to set them up in a hotel and scheduled a new departure on 3 January evening.

Mechanics were attempting to find out the cause of the issue but the airlines has not disclosed any details regarding it.

Severe winter conditions have already started affecting flights, with Delta suspending operations at the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport and Brunswick Golden Isles Airport in Georgia on 3 January because of the snow and ice accumulation on runways and taxiway.

American, JetBlue and Southwest have also delayed and cancelled flights as a powerful 'bomb cyclone" makes its way up the East Coast. About 500 flights to or from Boston Logan International Airport; 900 flights meant to depart from or arrive at three New York City-area airports; and numerous other flights from across the country were cancelled due to the powerful winter storm.

According to Bloomberg, over 2500 flights have been suspended as of 3 January. "It's going to be a very challenging day tomorrow in the Northeast due to heavy snows in some areas and strong winds," Ross Feinstein, a spokesman for American Airlines Group Inc said.

"We're making some proactive cancellations today because we know we'll be forced to cancel some flights tomorrow."

snow, airport
Ahead of an incoming winter snow storm, a Jet Blue flight waits to take off from Logan International Airport next to the frozen waters of the Atlantic Ocean harbour between Winthrop and Boston on 3 January, 2018 REUTERS/Brian Snyder