April 15, 2024


So far, 2024 really hasn’t been the year for air travel. In January alone there was the Japan Airlines fire, the Boeing 737 Max 9 that lost its door plug mid-flight, the discovery of more loose door plugs on other 737 Max 9s, a cockpit windshield that cracked mid-flight, a 747 shooting sparks through the air when one of its engines failed, a tailstrike in Toronto and a Virgin Atlantic flight that was canceled after a passenger noticed bolts missing on the wing. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like things are improving, as two more incidents took place last week.

In Portland, KOIN reports that an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 showed up with an open cargo door. While it’s not clear exactly when the door opened, according to the airline it most likely opened after landing, as the crew received no notification that the door wasn’t fully closed during the flight. Thankfully none of the pets flying in the cargo area died, so it ended up being more scary than tragic. In a statement, Alaska Airlines said:

Upon landing at PDX on March 1, Alaska Airlines flight 1437 was discovered to have the forward cargo door unsealed. There was no indication to the crew that the door was unsealed during flight and all indications point to the door partially opening after landing. Our maintenance teams inspected the aircraft, replaced a spring in the door, tested the door and reentered it into service.

Passengers on a flight landing in Houston also got a scare this week when their Boeing 737 Max 8 slid off the runway while taxiing to the gate. What caused the plane to go off the runway is still unknown, but one passenger told KPRC 2 that the landing itself was smooth. It was reportedly only after landing that something happened, causing the plane to end up in the grass and leaning to the left. No injuries have been reported. In a statement, United Airlines said:

Around 8 a.m. today, a United Airlines flight landed on a runway at George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH). As it was exiting the runway for the gate, the aircraft left the pavement and entered the grass along Runway 9-27. Fortunately, no one on board was injured and all passengers were safely transported to the terminal.

Per federal regulation, the FAA has been notified. Flights in and out of IAH continue without interruption.

As KPRC 2 points out, this wasn’t United’s first problem with a Boeing airplane even this week. A Boeing 777-200 lost a wheel as it was taking off, and last Monday a Boeing 737-900 experienced an engine fire. Considering Boeing’s role in so many of these incidents, it’s not surprising that a recent report from a federal safety panel found that the plane manufacturer’s safety culture is a mess.

A version of this article originally appeared on Jalopnik.



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