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United Airplane Issues

     As Spring Break has passed, families, staff, and students are reminiscing after their big trips. Many people in the Bay Area have flown on United Airlines since it has a hub at San Francisco International Airport. However, United’s recent string of problems has alarmed their customers. The timeline below documents when and where the concerning incidents have recently occurred.

United Airplane Issues:

– March 4: A Boeing 737-900 leaving from George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston returned to the airport to make an emergency landing after one of the plane engines sucked in and burned a piece of plastic.

– March 7: A Boeing 777 landed at LAX after it lost a tire from San Francisco International Airport to Osaka, Japan.

– March 8: A Boeing 737 Max 8 steered off and tiled on the grass when landing on the Houston runway.

The image shows the flight landing at Los Angeles after experiencing hydraulic issues. Image from SF Chronicle.

– March 8: An Airbus A320 leaving San Francisco for Mexico City was diverted to Los Angeles after it experienced hydraulic system issues.

– March 9: An Airbus A320 leaving Chicago O’Hare International Airport for Salt Lake City turned back after it reported maintenance issues.

– March 11: A Boeing 777 flying to San Francisco from Sydney returned after takeoff due to the plane experiencing a hydraulic leak.

– March 14: An Airbus A320 leaving Dallas Fort Worth International Airport experienced a hydraulic leak shortly before landing in San Francisco, its scheduled destination.

– March 14: A Boeing 737-800 that took off from San Francisco was missing an external panel and landed at MFR in Oregon.

– March 18: A Boeing 777-200, which was going to Osaka, Japan, had to return to San Francisco International Airport after an engine issue.


How United Has Approached These Issues

     United Airlines has reassured customers that these incidents are not related. The CEO, Scott Kirby, took several steps to prevent these incidents from occurring again. In his message, Kirby wrote, “Starting in May, United pilots will have an extra day of in-person training, a change already planned before the incidents. The airline will also use a ‘centralized training curriculum for our new hire maintenance technicians’ and dedicate additional resources to the carrier’s supply chain.”


How Government Agencies Have Responded

     Not only is United getting involved, but federal agencies are, too. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is a regulatory agency that oversees all aspects of aviation, including planes, drones, helicopters, and even space travel, regulating its safety. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is responsible for investigating air travel accidents. The FAA and the NTSB are closely monitoring the incidents. Additionally, they are monitoring United’s maintenance protocols to ensure the airline meets all safety standards. The collaboration between the NTSB and FAA has helped to establish an exceptional level of safety for air travel, making it the most reliable mode of transportation available.


How Airplane Manufacturers Have Handled This

     The recent news of Boeing’s CEO, Dave Calhoun, stepping down means the airplane manufacturer is undergoing a leadership change. After concerns with airplane safety, especially the 737 Max, Calhoun has decided to resign at the end of 2024. Stan Deal, president of the commercial airplane unit at Boeing, has also decided to step down due to customer concerns about commercial airplane safety. To replace Stan, Stephanie Pope, who was the chief operating officer at Boeing, took his place.


Did This Affect Travel During Spring Break? 

     Because of United’s steadfast efforts and collaboration with Boeing’s new leadership, United was clear of incidents during Spring Break. For those still concerned with flying, it’s important to remember that aviation travel is the safest mode of transportation.



United Airlines Planes Have Seen 8 Incidents in 2 Weeks. What’s Going On? 

United Airlines CEO tries to reassure customers after string of flight problems 

United Airlines flight from SFO to Japan experiences mechanical issue – NBC Bay Area 

United Airlines says federal regulators will increase oversight of the company following issues 

Boeing CEO to step down in broad management shake-up as 737 Max crisis weighs on aerospace giant

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Philip Gani, Staff Writer
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