CHICAGO- A United Airlines (UA) flight originating from Sarasota, Florida, experienced an emergency landing at the nearest available airport after an open door indicator light illuminated on Wednesday (10 Jan 2024).
This incident occurred less than a week after the alarming mid-flight occurrence involving a door plug blow-out on an Alaska Airlines (AS) flight.
United Airlines Emergency Landing
United Flight 2434, en route to Chicago, had its pilots respond to the illuminated light by alerting dispatchers and diverting the plane to Tampa, as stated by an airport spokesperson.
The flight, which took off from Sarasota/Bradenton International Airport at 3:42 p.m., safely landed at Tampa International Airport at 4:35 p.m., as reported by the flight tracking website Flight Aware.
A United spokesperson described the decision to make an emergency landing as a precautionary measure taken in the afternoon to address a potential mechanical issue. The aircraft carried 123 passengers and five crew members.
The airline did not immediately specify if the issue in question was related to an open door light; however, a spokesperson from Tampa International Airport mentioned that dispatchers received a call specifically referencing such an issue when runway space was requested for the emergency landing.
737 MAX Incidents
It’s noteworthy that United Airlines is one of the two American companies operating Boeing 737 MAX 9 jetliners, similar to the one that experienced the door plug incident on Friday. However, the plane diverted to Tampa on Wednesday was an Airbus A319.
The FAA has grounded 171 Boeing 737 Max 9 planes, requiring operators to complete enhanced inspections covering both left and right cabin door exit plugs, door components, and fasteners.
Both United and Alaska Airlines have reported instances of loose hardware on some of their planes within their Max 9 fleets.
Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 from Portland, Oregon, had to make a dramatic emergency landing last Friday after a door plug detached, creating a hole in the side of the plane at 16,000 feet in the air.
The sudden loss of pressure forcefully stripped a teenager’s shirt off, along with seat headrests and belongings of other passengers, including cell phones.
Some of these items ended up landing in residents’ backyards. Remarkably, none of the 171 passengers and six crew members sustained serious injuries.
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