We just received a tip from George of yet another United Airlines Hawaii flight diversion. Yesterday’s first diversion was a Hawaii-bound United Boeing 777-200, forced to return to the mainland due to mechanical problems. This second one from Honolulu was diverted back to HNL first, then diverted again to San Francisco instead of its final destination of Houston. The overnight flight left HNL on time last night at 9:03 pm, bound for Houston (IAH), and scheduled to arrive at 3:57 am. The flight finally landed there at 5:48 pm. That was nearly 14 hours after they were expected.
On this previously unreported diversion, the flight crew turned back to HNL to deal with what is now being reported to us to have been a medical issue after a little more than an hour in the air. The 23-year-old Boeing 777-200 plane then took off from HNL again this morning at 2:22 am. This time they made it across the Pacific. However, the flight diverted to San Fransisco (the nearest point to Hawaii) rather than continuing on its designated route to Houston. The flight crew timed out due to the prior delay that resulted in the change in plans.
This sounds like quite an ordeal for everyone involved and comes as just the latest in a series of five United Airlines diversions over the last two weeks. Is it just us, or does it seem like there are far more instances of Hawaii flights diverting primarily due to engine, other technical idea, or medical events while in the air, which causes them to either return to their point of origin or fly instead to a closer alternative airport?
It is starting to feel like we are reading about incidents like these almost daily. That begs the question of whether there is an issue with the airlines doing proper aircraft maintenance, or is this just some big coincidence? You tell us.
Wednesday’s other United Hawaii diversion: United Smoke In Cabin | 4th Diversion In Two Weeks.
Joe: Airplanes, like anything mechanical, need proper maintenance. My guess would be that taking care of all planes would extend their service life and safety. Nothing can run forever. My Yugo finally died at almost 275 (yup, 275) miles!!
Jay: During Covid, these airlines should have been doing maintenance on their aircraft, preparing for Covid to end.
But they just stored planes.
Our concerns were just echoed by the many comments we received.
Doug: It seems “revenge travel” is taking its toll on the airplanes and the islands! I wonder if the airlines lost a lot of maintenance and control technicians during the pandemic, as Disney did, which is why their rides were breaking down more frequently once things opened back up.
John: You simply cannot operate a piece of equipment as complex as a modern jet and not expect the rare inconvenience….. Flying to Hawaii is incredibly safe; you can thank the airlines for that and the fact that they don’t cross the Pacific if there is an issue that could make it less safe.
Joe: Pilots with inadequate training and less than optimum flying experience coupled with the maintenance done by “who knows who or where” is enough to make someone reconsider their life insurance policy before flying anywhere. Truly worrisome.
Colleen: I worry about Who and Where maintenance on All aircraft is taking place. Do these folks have English as their first language – or at least have guidance/instruction materials in their language? What about adequate supervision? Cost-cutting should stop when lives are put at risk. All of these ‘small’ incidents are bound to turn into at least One Big catastrophe one of these days. This has turned me into a ‘Nervous Nelly’ flyer. I never was before … but I am now. :0(
Maleko: Being a veteran flyer since the ’60s, I was concerned when airlines decided to fly twin-engine jets to The Islands. I even wrote to the FAA about my concerns. They simply referred me to the airlines and said that these planes had been certified for extended overwater flights.