Two Emergencies, One Day: United Airlines Experiences Several Incidents on Transatlantic Flights

November 27, 2017

Featured Image by Ikarasawa / Flickr of a United Boeing 777-222 (N213UA) taking off  


November 26, 2017 was certainly a very interesting day for United Airlines: Two separate transatlantic flights, both bound for Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey, experienced issues during flight and upon landing.


United flight 31, from Munich to Newark, was diverted to London's Heathrow International Airport after reports of a medical emergency onboard the aircraft. Pete Teoh, who was onboard the flight, reported that many passengers felt lightheaded shortly after departing Munich. At Heathrow, Teoh tweeted a picture of a bus, which apparently was being used to treat the sick passengers. Furthermore, United Airlines in a statement said that "We have provided customers meals, hotel accommodations, and are working with customers to get them to their final destinations."


According to FlightRadar24, the aircraft involved in the incident was N653UA, a Boeing 767-322(ER)(WL) delivered to United in October 1992, making it just over 25 years old at the time of this writing. This was the 460th Boeing 767 built, and was painted into a special "Star Alliance" livery, according to 


On the same day, United flight 961 from Frankfurt was performing its final approach to Newark Liberty International Airport when it experienced "tire issues" upon landing, according to a United Airlines spokesperson. One passenger onboard the aircraft, Hillary Glatt Kwiatek, tweeted that the aircraft landed with "malfunctioning brakes" and "two blown tires," suggesting that the aircraft had experienced an issue with the landing gear. Passenger Briana Oakland also reported that, during the landing, she "almost went flying out of her seat." Furthermore, passenger Heinz Roth described the landing as "exceptionally nice," but, according to NBC's news report, "it felt like the plane hit two potholes moments later," which is likely when the landing gear of the aircraft experienced the tire issues. Fortunately, no passengers or crew seemed to have been harmed in the incident, and United reports that all passengers have been "deplaned and bused to the terminal." However, this incident certainly caused an inconvenience for many passengers, as NBC reports that after the passengers were bused to the terminal, "they weren't seen leaving the airport until 5:30 PM - more than 4 hours after the plane arrived." 


The aircraft that operated flight 961 on November 26 was N225UA, a Boeing 777-222(ER) delivered to the airline on November 30, 2001, making it just shy of 16 years old at the time of the incident. FlightRadar24's log for this aircraft does not display any scheduled flights for this particular aircraft at this time, indicating that it is likely being inspected and repaired at Newark. 

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