Monday, April 15, 2024

16 Bounced! United Airlines Flight Rocks Passengers with Severe Turbulence, Leaving Injuries

HomeU.S.16 Bounced! United Airlines Flight Rocks Passengers with Severe Turbulence, Leaving Injuries

A United Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Newark faced a rough landing over the weekend when it encountered a patch of severe turbulence during descent. 16 people on board the Boeing 777, including passengers and crew members, sustained injuries and were met by medical teams after the aircraft touched down.

United Airlines flight UA1890 took off from Los Angeles International Airport on Friday morning, beginning its journey to Newark Liberty International Airport on the East Coast. The nearly 6-hour flight proceeds without incident for most of the duration. However, as the Boeing 777 began its descent towards Newark 25 minutes ahead of its scheduled arrival time, it unexpectedly entered an area of severe turbulence.

The sudden turbulence resulted in injuries to 16 occupants of the aircraft – 3 flight attendants and 2 passengers would later be transported to University Hospital in Newark for treatment. Despite the chaotic environment, the pilots were able to regain control of the situation and land UA1890 safely on arrival. Emergency medical personnel met the plane at the gate to assist the injured.

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While turbulence strong enough to cause harm is rare, it is an inherent risk associated with air travel that can never fully be avoided. Changes in wind patterns and air pressure can occasionally yield unpredictable and violent shifts that catch even seasoned pilots off guard. Safety experts recommend passengers keep their seatbelts fastened whenever possible, especially during ascent and descent phases of flight when turbulence risks are highest.

The vast majority of flights arrive without such incidents. However, turbulence accounted for the highest percentage of all airline accidents between 2002 and 2021, according to Federal Aviation Administration data. Technological improvements allowing planes to detect air pockets before reaching them have made accidents far less common in recent decades.

The Aircraft Involved Was a 26-Year Old Boeing 777 With Extensive Flight History

The United Airlines aircraft involved was a Boeing 777-200ER model, registered as N788UA. According to aviation data company ch-aviation, the plane entered service with United Airlines in July of 1997 and has remained exclusively in their fleet since then. With 26 years of continual operation, it has amassed over 104,000 flight hours across nearly 14,000 takeoff and landing cycles.

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The Boeing 777-200ER is a versatile long range wide-body aircraft capable of transoceanic routes carrying over 300 passengers. First introduced in 1997, the 777 family remains very popular amongst global carriers for long haul flights. Hundreds currently serve in fleets across North America, Europe, and Asia.

As a workhorse of United’s transcontinental network, aircraft N788UA regularly flies between the airline’s coastal hubs. Just days prior to the Newark incident, it criss-crossed the continent multiple times between Los Angeles and Houston. Despite its impressive tenure, the plane remains mechanically sound according to all accounts. After being assessed in Newark, it was promptly returned to active service.

Highly Competitive Transcontinental Market Where United Faces Rivals

United flight UA1890 connects two of the airline’s largest hubs in Los Angeles and Newark, a popular corridor among premium business travelers making the cross-country commute. As one of the most lucrative domestic routes in North America, the airline faces intense competition from other major carriers along the same path.

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JetBlue, Alaska Airlines, Spirit Airlines and smaller regional airlines all operate flights linking California with the New York City metro area. Travelers not loyal to a particular brand often shop aggressively on price between the options. Success along competitive inter-hub routes like Los Angeles-Newark is critical to United and its rivals as they vie for the most valuable flyer segments.

Even as the sole legacy mega-carrier with internal hubs at both endpoints, United does not have an assured lock on market share. Each of its competitors leverage their own advantages, from JetBlue’s premium Mint service to Spirit’s bare-bones base fares, to carve away business. United combats this by optimizing schedules, seat offerings, amenities and loyalty perks.

The premium cabins and service standards to which route regulars and corporate partners have become accustomed gives United an edge. But the airline always keeps one eye fixed on its fast-moving no-frills rivals rapidly expanding from below through the domestic market.

Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee is a prolific author who provides commentary and analysis on business, finance, politics, sports, and current events on his website Opportuneist. With over a decade of experience in journalism and blogging, Mezhar aims to deliver well-researched insights and thought-provoking perspectives on important local and global issues in society.

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