United Plane Encounters Unforeseen Consequence, Turns Aircraft Around Mid Flight

Last week on October 16, a United Express airplane that was making its way to Chattanooga, Tennesee, made a U-turn in mid-flight due to an unusual situation.

The United flight never made it to its destination and returned to O’Hare International Airport in Chicago where it originated.


A Skywest Airlines (A United Airlines’ partner company) representative confirmed this to Yahoo Lifestyle.

Marissa Snow, the Skywest Spokesperson, shared how the aircraft had been en route for close to an hour when the turn-around was ordered.

The 50-person plane the passengers were originally slated to take was unavailable, so an upgrade to a larger aircraft, specifically the ERJ-175, was made.

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Sounds normal, right?


The flight departed only a few minutes behind schedule at 2:45 p.m. local time, according to USA Today.
There were also no issues going on prior to the crew making an announcement that the pilot would be turning the plane around…

…so what exactly happened? Let’s investigate….


Vince Fallon, a passenger, informed USA Today how passengers on the plane began to show their “united” discord for the change in plans.

“The pilot, nor the flight attendants, did not have any information for us and just kept saying they would figure it out when we land,” another passenger by the name of Jill Lohsen, shared.

The passengers did receive a text message with the alert, but not until the airplane returned to O’Hare. The alert said:

“Your 2:13 p.m. United flight to Chattanooga is delayed because of unforeseen circumstances. This is an unusual situation and we’re working hard to solve it. We value your time and we’re sorry for the inconvenience.”


So what exactly was this unusual, unforeseen circumstance?

The jet, actually. It was said the jet’s size was too large to land safely in Chattanooga.

“We didn’t have the ground equipment there to handle that aircraft,” Snow shared with Yahoo Lifestyle, along with the following statement:

“On October 16, SkyWest flight 5277 operating as United Express from Chicago to Chattanooga, Tennessee returned to Chicago to change aircraft. The flight landed safely in Chicago, departed for Chattanooga on a different aircraft and landed safely in Chattanooga. We apologized to our passengers for the inconvenience and worked with our partner, United, to provide compensation.”


The flight landed in Chicago at 4:27 p.m. and safely, I might add. The passengers were then handed out complimentary Cheez-Its, pretzels, and water — along with a $300 flight voucher for a future trip.

The passengers were then assigned a new flight on a 50-seat Bombardier CRJ 200 that was scheduled to leave within the hour.

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The next flight out to Chattanooga was at 8:30 p.m. – which was three hours later than originally scheduled, but this time they landed safely.

While it is rare for airplanes to turnaround midflight, it can happen.

Hopefully, the next time these folks fly, it will be smooth sailing.


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