Entries in United Airlines (14)


Dog Mistakenly Boarded on Flight to Ireland Instead of Arizona

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- A dog meant to meet his family in Phoenix, Ariz., ended up on a plane to Ireland after he was mistakenly put on the wrong flight from a New Jersey airport.

Edith Lombardo-Albach of Staten Island, N.Y., told that her six-year-old English Springer Spaniel named Hendrix was scheduled to arrive in Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in Arizona around 9:45 p.m. Thursday evening on a flight out of Liberty Newark International Airport on United Airlines.

"They marked everything Phoenix, and put the tags on Phoenix," she said.

But seven minutes before the flight was supposed to land, she received a phone call from the United Airlines informing her that Hendrix would not be arriving in Arizona that evening.

"Originally, I thought the dog had died and I started screaming," she said.

But an airline representative told Lombardo-Albach that her dog was put on the wrong flight, and was en route to Shannon, Ireland, instead of Phoenix.

"I almost fainted," she said. "My husband and my daughter were already at the airport waiting for the dog."

Lombardo-Albach's family is in the process of moving from New York to Arizona, she said. While her daughter, Meredith Grant, had left for Phoenix on an earlier flight on U.S. Airways on Thursday, she could not take Hendrix down with her because the airline does not accept any animals as cargo.

Lombardo-Albach said United told her that when Hendrix arrived in Ireland, "they were going to have someone clean the dog, feed the dog, walk the dog, and then they were going to get the dog back on the plane and send him to Newark."

"The dog had already gone seven hours to Ireland, and now the dog has a two-hour layover and then a seven-hour flight to Newark," she said. "I was insane."

Hendrix flew back to New Jersey on Friday morning, and Lombardo-Albach was there waiting for him when he got off the plane around 11 a.m. She stayed with him at the airport until 5 p.m., when he boarded his flight for Phoenix.

"They boarded him the last possible minute they could," she said. "I stayed and watched them physically put the dog on the plane."

But she said it was a struggle to get Hendrix back in his crate to travel to Arizona on Friday.

"He was fighting me to put him into the crate. That's just not like him," she said.

Lombardo-Albach said United Airlines offered her a free refund for the dog's flight, but was disappointed that the airline was not more compassionate.

"This was a major failure on United's part," she said. "He's a member of my family and they nearly left him."

United Airlines spokeswoman Megan McCarthy said in a statement that the airline regretted that Hendrix was boarded on the wrong aircraft.

"We are reviewing the circumstances surrounding the situation and will take steps to prevent this from happening again," she said. "Hendrix's experience is not typical of the service we provide to the more than 100,000 pets who travel with us every year."

Lombardo-Albach just wants the airline to make things right.

"I can't believe that somebody would be so stupid," she said. "And if this person doesn't lose their job, I mean, there are going to be problems."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Man Dies on United Flight, Reports Conflict

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(SALT LAKE CITY) -- Conflicting accounts surround the death of a man on a United Airlines flight to Utah earlier this week.

United confirmed that a passenger died on flight 5596 en route from Denver to Salt Lake City.

A passenger on the flight, who is also a combat medic with the Army Reserve, told KSL TV in Salt Lake City that he assisted with CPR in the aisle of the aircraft Monday until paramedics arrived on landing.

Jared Noall told the station he noticed a passenger snoring loudly two rows away. The man moved and the snoring stopped. It was only when the lights went on that Noall said he could tell something was wrong. A defibrillator was retrieved and three people, including Noall, traded off performing CPR.

The Federal Aviation Administration requires all airlines carry at least one Automated External Defibrillator (AED) on every flight.

However, the airline relays a slightly different version of the events. A United spokeswoman told ABC News that the customer collapsed on the aircraft after arrival in Salt Lake City.

"We immediately notified paramedics and they arrived to assist the customer, however we later learned that the customer was not revived," the airline said in an email. "As United is committed to the privacy of its passengers, we are unable to convey any further information about the customer."

This is at least the fourth instance of a passenger dying on an aircraft in the last eight months.

In January, an American Airlines flight en route from Sao Paolo to Dallas-Fort Worth Airport in Texas was diverted to Houston when a 25-year-old woman became ill. Members of the flight crew, aided by a physician who happened to be on board, began performing emergency medical procedures as the plane changed course to land in Houston. Shortly after landing, the woman was pronounced dead.

In September, a 64-year-old woman on a Korean Airlines flight from Seoul, South Korea died on a flight bound for New York's John F. Kennedy Airport.

In June, a man died on a Kenya Airways flight from Amsterdam to Tanzania. The man was reportedly sweating and having seizures before the flight, but the plane took off anyway. In that case, the cabin crew reportedly laid the body across three seats and partially covered it. However, another passenger, Lena Pettersson, was forced to sit across the aisle from it for the rest of the flight.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


FAA Orders Grounding of Boeing Dreamliners in US After Japanese Incident

Duncan Chard/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has ordered the grounding of Boeing 787 Dreamliner jets until their operators prove that batteries on the planes are safe. Several planes operated by overseas carriers have run into trouble recently, the latest because of a suspected battery fire on board.

The FAA order applied to the six 787s being flown by United Airlines, which will need to prove to the FAA that there is no battery fire risk on those planes.

"Before further flight, operators of U.S.-registered Boeing 787 aircraft must demonstrate to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that the batteries are safe and in compliance," the FAA said in a statement Wednesday. "The FAA will work with the manufacturer and carriers to develop a corrective action plan to allow the U.S. 787 fleet to resume operations as quickly and safely as possible."

The FAA's "emergency airworthiness directive" came after two Japanese airlines grounded their Boeing 787 Dreamliners following a forced emergency landing Tuesday.

An emergency airworthiness directive is one that requires an operator to fix or address any problem before flying again.

United Airlines responded Wednesday night with a statement: "United will immediately comply with the Airworthiness Directive and will work closely with the FAA and Boeing on the technical review as we work toward restoring 787 service. We will begin reaccommodating customers on alternate aircraft."

All Nippon Airways (ANA) said a battery warning light and a burning smell were detected in the cockpit and the cabin, forcing the Dreamliner, on a domestic flight, to land at Takamatsu Airport in Japan.

The plane landed safely about 45 minutes after it took off and all 128 passengers and eight crew members had to evacuate using the emergency chutes. Two people sustained minor injuries on their way down the chute, Osamu Shinobe, ANA senior executive vice president, told a news conference in Tokyo.

ANA and its rival, Japan Airlines (JAL), subsequently grounded their Dreamliner fleets. ANA operates 17 Dreamliner planes, while JAL has seven in service.

Both airlines said the Dreamliner fleet would remain grounded at least through Friday.

ANA said the battery in question during Tuesday's incident was the same lithium-ion type battery that caught fire on board a JAL Dreamliner in Boston last week. Inspectors found liquid leaking from the battery, and said it was "discolored"

Japan's transport ministry categorized the problem as a "serious incident" that could have led to an accident.

John Hansman, an MIT professor of aeronautics and astronautics, said, "If this was an actual fire, that's a major problem. And it would be a major problem even if nothing happened over the past week."

The FAA ordered a comprehensive review of the 787's design in a news conference Jan. 11 with Boeing. But the agency assured the public that the 787s were safe to continue flying while they looked into the fleet's design and safety measures.

After the latest incident, but before the FAA airworthiness directive, Boeing said, "We will be working with our customer and the appropriate regulatory agencies."

The Japanese Transport Ministry dispatched its own inspectors to Takamatsu Airport Wednesday. A spokesman said the Transport Safety Board and Civil Aviation Bureau will conduct separate investigations.

 A fire broke out Jan. 7 on an empty JAL Dreamliner at Boston's Logan Airport after a non-stop flight from Tokyo. It took firefighters 40 minutes to put out the blaze.

One day later, a different Dreamliner jet owned by JAL sprang a leak from its number-one engine right before takeoff at Logan Airport, spilling about 40 gallons of fuel onto the runway. It had to be towed back to the gate before taking off later that day.

ANA cancelled a domestic flight to Tokyo Jan. 9 after a computer wrongly indicated there was a problem with the Boeing 787's brakes.

A 3-foot-long crack appeared in the cockpit window of an ANA 787 flying in Japan Jan. 11.

Another JAL Dreamliner leaked fuel while undergoing tests at the airport near Tokyo Jan. 13. It was the same plane involved in the Jan. 8 incident in Boston.

No one was injured in any of those incidents, but JAL has followed ANA's lead and also ordered their entire 787 feet to be grounded.

"As a result of the incident involving another airline's 787 in Japan today, to ensure safety, JAL has decided to cancel its 787 operations today," JAL said in a statement.

Six 787s have been delivered to the United States, all purchased by United, while there are 50 flying worldwide, including Poland and Chile.

"It's a rough couple weeks for Boeing and ANA," Hansman of MIT said. "I think clearly in the short term this type of bad press has been tough for Boeing. I think in the long haul, this is a good airplane. It's in a good market."


Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Three Emergency Landings Put Spotlight on United Airline’s Fleet

United Continental Airlines(NEW YORK) -- United Airlines says it is conducting a thorough review Monday morning after three weekend incidents left hundreds of passengers stranded and some wondering whether the airline’s rocky merger with Continental has undermined its operations.

Since their merger two years ago, the new United has suffered a rash of bad publicity and now has the worst record in the industry for delays.

In June, the last month for which the government released data, United passengers filed nearly 600 complaints.  That’s five times higher than its nearest competitor and five times higher than before the merger.

“We’ve seen this huge spike in customer complaints,” ABC News aviation consultant Steve Ganyard said.  “Now that we’re seeing a rash of in-flight emergencies, the FAA is going to want to ask are they having the same problem integrating their maintenance.”

United Flight 96 heading from New Jersey’s Newark Liberty International Airport to Berlin was reportedly forced to make an emergency landing on Saturday when a tire burst and the debris was sucked into one of the plane’s engines.

Witnesses on the ground said they saw fire coming from the Boeing 757′s engine as they watched in suspense.  Cellphone video showed the plane circling for two hours and 15 minutes to burn off fuel before all 173 passengers and crew members landed safely back at Newark Airport.

“The crew followed standard procedures in returning to Newark, where the airplane landed safely,” United Airlines officials said in a statement Saturday.

Meanwhile, United Flight 409 had to return to Newark Sunday morning after the pilot reported smoke in the cockpit.  The Boeing 757 was bound for Seattle.  And United Flight 1124 bound for Boston had to return to Houston a few hours later because of engine problems.

“The question is, how well is maintenance being done on those airplanes?” Ganyard said. “Is it a coincidence or is there a greater underlying problem that needs to be investigated.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


United Airlines Flight Lands Safely After ‘Mechanical Issue’ With Engine

United Contenental Airlines (NEWARK, N.J.) -- A Berlin-bound United Airlines flight landed safely at Newark airport this weekend after the aircraft experienced a “mechanical issue with the engine,” officials said.

United Airlines flight 96 left Newark at 5:50 p.m. and was carrying 173 passengers and crew Saturday when a tire burst and the debris was sucked into one of the plane’s engines, according to reports.

Witnesses on the ground said they saw fire coming from the engine as they watched in suspense.

“I ran to the window, looked outside, saw the airplane and saw fire coming out,” D’Jenaba Johnson Jones said.

“As it was elevating I noticed that there was a flame spitting out of the left engine. It was kind of going like pop-pop-pop-pop,” said Alex Jackson.

The Boeing 757 immediately turned around, back for Newark.  For two hours and 15 minutes the plane circled, burning off fuel.

“This can be quite disturbing if you’re sitting in the cabin and not understanding what goes on because it’s actually shooting what looks like fireballs out the front of the engine,” ABC News aviation consultant Steve Ganyard said.

The plane landed safely at 8:10 p.m.  

“The crew followed standard procedures in returning to Newark, where the airplane landed safely,” United Airlines officials said in a statement Saturday.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Lufthansa, United Express Jets Clip Each Other at Dulles Airport in Washington

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Lufthansa and United Express planes clipped each other on a taxiway at Dulles Airport, causing no apparent injuries, officials told ABC News affiliate WJLA.

The collision occurred at 3:15 p.m. on the taxiway in front of Gate A, according to a spokesman for Dulles Airport in Washington, D.C. Fire and rescue crews responded.

It appeared the wing of a departing Lufthansa Airbus 330 clipped the tail of an arriving Bombadier Q400, a type of Dash-8 operated by Colgan Air for United, according to the Dulles spokesman. The collision caused physical damage to both planes.

The Lufthansa plane involved was flight 417, the Dulles spokesman said. That flight normally flies to Frankfurt, Germany and had 183 people on board, WJLA reported.

United Express flight 3912 had arrived at Dulles Airport from Pittsburgh, a spokesman for Pinnacle Airlines, Colgan's parent company, told WJLA. The spokesman added that the Colgan plane continued to the gate and all 68 passengers safely deplaned.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Suspicious Camera Leads to United Flight Diversion

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(BOSTON) -- A United Airlines flight from Newark, N.J., to Geneva, Switzerland, was diverted to Boston Tuesday night when a flight attendant discovered a camera in a seat back pocket and could not locate the camera's owner, law enforcement officials and an airline spokesperson said.

United Airlines later identified the owner of the camera as it belonged to someone who flew on an earlier flight.

Richard Walsh, media relations representative for Massachusetts Port Authority, confirmed to ABC News that the flight to Geneva is scheduled to take off from Boston's Logan International Airport at 3 p.m. Wednesday.

The Boeing 767 has not yet departed Boston and it wasn't clear if that same plane will be used for the flight to Geneva.

Flight 956 took off from Newark at 6 p.m., with 157 passengers and 11 crew members aboard, according to officials and United's website.  The plane was escorted to Boston by two F-15's at 9:00 p.m. and landed approximately 15 minutes later "as a prudent precaution," according to NORAD.

But during the flight into Logan, there was another moment of concern -- one of the fighter escorts lost its avionics and issued an emergency, but NORAD said it was able to land safely at its home base.

Cameras are an object of concern for counter terrorism authorities.  In one of the post 9/11 airline terror plots, terrorists explored using camera bodies either as devices or as part of the mechanism for triggering a bomb.

More recently, ABC News has reported, al Qaeda bombmaker Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri, who is believed to be behind both underwear bomb plots, was working on new explosives that they hoped would pass an airport security screening.  One of those designs reportedly utilized a camera.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


United Airlines Flight Lands Safely After Bird Strike

File photo. (United Continental Airlines)(DENVER) -- A United Airlines flight from Dallas/Ft. Worth struck a bird as it made its descent into Denver on Tuesday, causing a large hole in the plane’s nose.

ABC News affiliate KMGH reports that Flight 1475, a Boeing 737, was carrying 151 passengers at the time of the incident. No one was injured as a result of the strike, a spokesman for the airline said, according to KMGH.

The flight landed just before 9:30 a.m. local time.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


United Flight Experiences Severe Turbulence; Several Hospitalized

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(HOUSTON) -- Several passengers onboard a United Airlines flight were injured Wednesday when the plane hit a patch of severe turbulence.

United flight 1727 took off from Tampa, Fla., Wednesday morning, headed for Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport. As the plane passed over Lake Charles, La., pilots reported turbulence so bad that five passengers and two crew members suffered injuries. Three people had to be hospitalized.

All of the injuries are believed to have been minor, ABC News affiliate KTRK reported.

The plane, a Boeing 737, was carrying 145 passengers and six crew members at the time of the incident, according to KTRK.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


United Airlines 'Glitch' Brings Back 9/11 Flight Numbers

United Continental Airlines(WASHINGTON) -- After September 11, 2001, United Airlines retired the flight numbers of its two planes used in the attacks: Flights 93 and 175. But the airline said Wednesday that a computer glitch earlier this week allowed those numbers to be assigned to forthcoming flights.

"We regret that these flight numbers were inadvertently reinstated in our system," United said in a statement. "We have already taken steps to remove them and apologize for the error."

United says no flights labeled 93 or 175 ever took off.

In a statement, the pilots of United Airlines said that the "reinstatement of Flight Numbers 93 and 175…demonstrates an absolute and blatant disrespect of the pilots, crew and passengers who lost their lives on that date."

United maintains it was computer error -- a glitch brought upon by the company's merger with Continental Airlines -- that caused the apparent snafu.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio