The airline said two passengers were forced to open the cabin door on their Delta flight and fled an emergency slide shortly before takeoff Monday.
The passengers, who were not identified, were on a flight bound for Atlanta as soon as they opened the plane’s cabin.
The statement said that the aircraft, the Airbus A321, was taxiing on time and returned to the gate. Other passengers were placed on alternate flights, the airline said.
The airline said maintenance staff evaluated the aircraft, and was to return to service on Monday.
It was not immediately clear what caused the haste. Police departments in the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operate the airport, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The New York Times, citing another passenger on the flight, identified the couple as a service dog who had changed seats several times before Anoffice.
Passenger Brian Plummer said the man stood up as the plane began to move and ignored a flight attendant’s order to sit.
Plummer told The Times that he had not seen the man opening the cabin door, but flight crews alerted passengers after the aircraft suddenly sounded.
The newspaper reported that after forcing the man to an emergency exit, the couple released their dog.