An American Airlines Flight Diverted To Phoenix… Twice

Filed Under: American

Some American Airlines flyers traveling after the new year had a very unlucky travel experience.

On January 2, AA10 from Los Angeles to New York was scheduled to depart at 9PM. This flight was operated by one of American’s swanky A321T aircraft, featuring three classes of service.

Unfortunately the flight had a mechanical problem, and ended up diverting to Phoenix. Apparently there were reports of smoke in the cabin. So after flying for about 90 minutes, the plane landed in Phoenix, and many passengers had to spend the night there (though apparently some passengers were rebooked on other flights to New York).

The next day after noon the remaining passengers were placed on another plane to New York, this time flight number AA9240. As it turned out, American used exactly the same plane for this flight, and guess what? The same thing happened again.

There was once again smoke in the cabin, and the plane diverted to Phoenix for a second time.

American Airlines issued the following statement regarding the incident:

The aircraft that was previously diverted to Phoenix the other night was fixed Thursday morning. The issue was isolated to the aircraft chiller in the forward galley of the aircraft. Most passengers had already been rebooked on other flights from Phoenix to New York, when the flight continued under Flight 9240.

(Sometimes when we have the same flight number operating on the same day we need to renumber the flight number.)

Once airborne from Phoenix, a similar issue involving an odor from the chiller was noticed by our crew, and the flight returned back to Phoenix. The aircraft is out of service, as our team continues to troubleshoot the source of the odor, which may be a faulty fan.

The return on the second flight was NOT an emergency landing, and it was an electrical smell from the area where the chiller is installed in the front galley.”

Alrighty then. I’m not totally sure I get the distinction of the second landing not being an “emergency landing.” As far as passengers are concerned, the same plane diverted to the same airport on two flights in a row.

In fairness to American, stuff like this does happen. I trust they had mechanics look at the situation and that the mechanics thought everything was okay. But of course the optics of this are really, really bad.

Was anyone on this (rough) flight?

(Tip of the hat to Business Insider)

  1. It seems like an accidental case of ““Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.” But how would you even know you were being put on the same plane. You’d just assume you’d be put on a different flight.

  2. Yes, sort of. Honolulu two consecutive days, same plane. Divert where after takeoff and halfway to LAX? Fortunately both problems on ground. Replacement plane never arrived third flight cancelled. Supposed to leave Sunday night, Delta flight Wednesday morning. Many thousand in revenue lost, middle finger from AA

  3. You shouldn’t be so generous with your support of American. Stuff like this happens (disproportionately on airlines with relatively poor maintenance strategy/ops like American) , but other mainline US airlines rebook passengers on other available flights. American will simply force all coach passengers (unless a high-level elite) to wait (or rebook on an airline that works with their own money). Doug Parker (a proud 3 time recipient of a DUI, something that American/US covered up but should be front and center for a person in a position of immense trust) must enjoy counting pennies while losing dollars. My own personal experience with American after this New Year (paid big time for a direct flight to get to work, I have the credit card, but was laughed when asked to be rebooked for a never ending delay) . Now I’m willing to pay an even higher premium to fly Delta, Southwest, JetBlue, and Alaska. Heck, I think some airlines (Delta in particular) should support stronger passenger rights legislation as their rivals will loose far more!

  4. Nick. How would you suggest rebooking 125 people at midnight?? And be careful disparaging someone or you could be sued.

  5. Jr, Luckily I live in the US where we have a beautiful thing called the 1st Amendment. It is a fact American Airlines CEO Doug Parker is guilty of 3 DUIs. It is my opinion that major, publicly traded US corporations should immediately disclose this information regarding their CEOs but Parker’s employer did not. It is my opinion that Doug Parker is unfit for his role! If there was a single airline CEO stupid enough to sue an American for telling the truth about his drunkard past in which he put the lives of innocents at risk, it is my opinion it would be Mr. Parker. Bring it!

  6. 10 Things You Didn’t Know About American Airlines CEO Doug Parker

    His third DUI was in February 2007 and he spent a day in jail. Apparently he has either learned his lesson or his reluctance to discuss “his personal travel arrangements” includes having an American Airlines employee as his driver. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he learned his lesson 12 years ago.

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