Rough Landing Injures Southwest Flight Attendant

Rough Landing Injures Southwest Flight Attendant

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If you’re a frequent flyer, you’ve no doubt encountered a rough landing at some point. However, you probably haven’t encountered one this rough…

Southwest 737 has rough landing in Southern California

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has released its final report about an incident that left a Southwest flight attendant injured. This incident occurred on July 1, 2022, on Southwest Airlines flight WN2029 from Oakland (OAK) to Santa Ana (SNA). The flight was operated by a Boeing 737-700 with the registration code N480WN, and there were 137 passengers and five crew onboard.

The flight operated as usual up until the descent stage, and the pilots were performing a standard visual approach to runway 20R. The landing was rougher than usual, and shortly after exiting the runway, the pilots were informed that one of the flight attendants seated at the rear of the aircraft had injured her back on landing, and required medical assistance.

The flight attendant said she followed all standard procedures. She secured the galley and cabin before landing, sat down in her jumpseat, secured her seatbelt harness, and got into the brace position. She claims that the plane landed with such force that she thought the plane had crashed.

She immediately felt pain in her back and neck, and said she could not move. Paramedics evaluated her and transported her to a hospital, where she was diagnosed with a compression fracture to her T3 vertebra.

Admittedly John Wayne Airport is tricky, but…

It’s worth noting that John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana is one of the trickier airports in the United States for pilots, both on takeoff and landing. The runway is fairly short, at 5,700 feet, and the airport also has some noise abatement policies, which can make takeoffs from the airport pretty exciting.

It’s normal to have somewhat rougher landings at John Wayne Airport, since the priority is touching down as quickly as possible, rather than “floating” the plane for a smooth landing. On this flight, the pilots claim that they were aiming for the “touchdown zone” of the runway, with minimal floating.

It goes without saying that there’s a difference between a firm landing, and one where a flight attendant thinks the plane may have crashed.

I’m obviously no medical expert, but since there were no other injuries on the plane, I’d think that maybe there was some other condition contributing to this? Maybe the flight attendant’s back wasn’t totally straight on impact, maybe there was a pre-existing condition, or something? At least I’d hope that’s the case, because it’s scary to think that a rough landing could lead to major back issues.

Bottom line

A Southwest flight attendant was seriously injured after a rough landing at John Wayne Airport. The landing was so firm that the flight attendant thought the plane had crashed. She ended up suffering a compression fracture to her T3 vertebra. Hopefully she has a speedy recovery, and is able to return to the skies.

(Tip of the hat to Paddle Your Own Kanoo)

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  1. FlyerDon Guest

    The 757 was a very good plane to fly into and out of SNA. Too bad it no longer does.

  2. Tom S Guest

    A fractured vertebra is hard evidence of an injury and precludes faking on the part of the attendant (who was wearing a 4-point harness), which seems to be insinuation in some of the comments. Fortunately, the FDR contains the facts of how hard the landing was, but, unfortunately, the NTSB ignored it entirely. Their final report sounded more like a news summary than an investigation.

  3. MarkK Guest

    As a flight attendant of 42 years, but not on the 737 until the last 9 years, I had not encountered such "hard landing" incidents until working those aircraft. I had a similar experience landing at DCA, another relatively short runway. I was also seated on the back jumpseat. I was not injured, but really felt such a jolt that I thought for sure the plane would not continue on elsewhere. But it did. So...

    As a flight attendant of 42 years, but not on the 737 until the last 9 years, I had not encountered such "hard landing" incidents until working those aircraft. I had a similar experience landing at DCA, another relatively short runway. I was also seated on the back jumpseat. I was not injured, but really felt such a jolt that I thought for sure the plane would not continue on elsewhere. But it did. So I can relate to this story. I have nothing against the 737. I eventually worked the 737 MAX without hesitation.

  4. Kent Guest

    Whereas us self-proclaimed fly 500K to a million miles a year, FAs beat that easily. If the FA is saying this was a bad landing, then it must be so. In addition, have you ever looked at the galley seats for FAs? They aren't the most comfortable seats nor do they provide any significant support.

  5. iamhere Guest

    Perhaps the comment about not being a medical expert was mean or it would have been more politically correct if it ended at that sentence, but it is also true. I think more details will follow as to her medical history and whether there are other contributing factors. In a country and society where you can sue for almost anything, just only one person on the flight being hurt makes it become questionable. If the...

    Perhaps the comment about not being a medical expert was mean or it would have been more politically correct if it ended at that sentence, but it is also true. I think more details will follow as to her medical history and whether there are other contributing factors. In a country and society where you can sue for almost anything, just only one person on the flight being hurt makes it become questionable. If the landing at that airport is so difficult on the planes then we would perhaps see such injuries more often.

  6. Stephen Morrissey Guest

    Okay,
    A rookie pilot makes a mistake. It happens every day. BFD.

  7. Bob Guest

    Interesting they give the age of the pilots but not of the FA. Was she 28, or 82?

  8. DEE Guest

    Her bone density needs to be checked.. She probably had some issues prior to this landing... check old MRI's or its workers comp for life. wonder how old she was???? that could make a difference.

  9. Kevin Guest

    There are countless incidences of FA's being injured in turbulence and rough landings when passengers weren’t injured, it's not all uncommon. Passengers, even Ben, fly a fraction of the miles they do and do so seated, so they shouldn't be the ones questioning the veracity of this woman's account, "...maybe there was some other condition contributing to this? Maybe the flight attendant’s back wasn’t totally straight on impact, maybe there was a pre-existing condition, or...

    There are countless incidences of FA's being injured in turbulence and rough landings when passengers weren’t injured, it's not all uncommon. Passengers, even Ben, fly a fraction of the miles they do and do so seated, so they shouldn't be the ones questioning the veracity of this woman's account, "...maybe there was some other condition contributing to this? Maybe the flight attendant’s back wasn’t totally straight on impact, maybe there was a pre-existing condition, or something?"

    If Ben said that he and Ford felt discriminated against, would it be fair to write an article and say, “I’m not a gay man, but no other couples complained, so perhaps there was another Ben they spoke up? Maybe He and Ford were short on cash and hoping to get a free upgrade or have their meal comped?” The only reason to take time out of your day and write an article questioning this woman's character, is to generate click-bate and bask in the bitchy satisfaction some people get by casting aspersions and watching people pile on. Mission accomplished, right out of the gate Ben got Craig to say she’s just trying to get disability.

    Wishing her a speedy recovery is disingenuous at best and only to assuage your guilt. If you really were concerned about her as a person, the story would be short and sweet. A flight attendant was injured in a hard landing, we all wish her well. Done.

    This story isn’t a travel story, it character assination and gossip. Stick to miles, seats and lounges, there’s enough sleaze already.

    1. Tomtom23 Guest

      Have a day off Kev, no one cares about your feelings.

    2. Kevin Guest

      Aww... TommyTom, you cared enough to comment... Thank you.

  10. Jordan Gold

    I once flew an AA MIA-LGA segment on a 737. The touch down was so hard and rough that I thought we had crashed, and that the plane was about to split in two. It was surreal, and I've flow over 1,000 times....easily 50-100 times on 737s.

    IF an FA is saying they though the plane had crashed, after having landed 100s-1000s of times in their career, I'm sure it was bad.

    1. jetjock64 Guest

      I'm a skeptic UNLESS (1) the plane failed a postflight "hard landing inspection," which should have been done, AND (2) whether other passengers and/or FAs made similar complaints about the landing. The answers to these will tell the story. FA jumpseats are not as padded as the other seats on the plane, but they ARE designed to not produce injury--even if the plane broke in half. This initially smells of a "pre-existing," or worse, a case of severe malingering.

  11. Ralph4878 Guest

    SNA (and BUR!) are...an adventure every time.

  12. John Guest

    Hope she makes a full recovery.

    That being said, if this was an unusually harsh landing then it would have been all over social media with passengers talking about their crash landing, etc.

    1. Eskimo Guest

      And ends a career because of disability.

    2. Olivia Guest

      This is simply a mean response. Obviously she was hurt! Would you want to injure yourself to collect disability? Perhaps so.

  13. Greg Guest

    Hope she's recovered regardless of the cause. any word there?

  14. Brodie Guest

    Yet another reason to take JSX!

  15. George Romey Guest

    Well JS don't seem to have lots of cushion to absorb a very hard landing. Hard landings tend to be common at airports with short run ways. Land at DCA on a 321NEO and it's a very hard and short landing. Which brings me to airlines like Frontier and their almost park bench like, little padding seats. From the pictures I've seen I can't imagine that seat taking much of a hard jolt.

  16. Never In Doubt Guest

    “ I’m obviously no medical expert”

    That paragraph should have ended with that sentence.

    1. Alan Guest

      My reaction, exactly. Ben, as you said, you are not a medical expert. You're so far out of your lane on something like this, you're not adding value by hypothesizing.

      Don't feel like you have to give your 'take' on everything. You don't. Sometimes, it weakens your credibility. Focus on your lane and when something is outside of it, just report it and offer compassion. That's your brand.

    2. Morgan Diamond

      I disagree, to everyone saying that Ben is no medical expert which he obviously is not and shouldn't give his opinion is ironic. The whole reason we read this blog is to read his take and opinion, if you don't then don't read certain posts or don't read the blog. I very much value the input and to be honest it is what I was thinking and I am sure others were thinking.

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Never In Doubt Guest

“ I’m obviously no medical expert” That paragraph should have ended with that sentence.

6
Kevin Guest

There are countless incidences of FA's being injured in turbulence and rough landings when passengers weren’t injured, it's not all uncommon. Passengers, even Ben, fly a fraction of the miles they do and do so seated, so they shouldn't be the ones questioning the veracity of this woman's account, "...maybe there was some other condition contributing to this? Maybe the flight attendant’s back wasn’t totally straight on impact, maybe there was a pre-existing condition, or something?" If Ben said that he and Ford felt discriminated against, would it be fair to write an article and say, “I’m not a gay man, but no other couples complained, so perhaps there was another Ben they spoke up? Maybe He and Ford were short on cash and hoping to get a free upgrade or have their meal comped?” The only reason to take time out of your day and write an article questioning this woman's character, is to generate click-bate and bask in the bitchy satisfaction some people get by casting aspersions and watching people pile on. Mission accomplished, right out of the gate Ben got Craig to say she’s just trying to get disability. Wishing her a speedy recovery is disingenuous at best and only to assuage your guilt. If you really were concerned about her as a person, the story would be short and sweet. A flight attendant was injured in a hard landing, we all wish her well. Done. This story isn’t a travel story, it character assination and gossip. Stick to miles, seats and lounges, there’s enough sleaze already.

2
Olivia Guest

This is simply a mean response. Obviously she was hurt! Would you want to injure yourself to collect disability? Perhaps so.

2
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