Just updated at 1pm to reflect there are now three diversions that we just learned of including two today. Thank you to readers Elizabeth S., Mark B., Nico, and Kevin C. for your input and help with today’s updates. We look forward to your tips!
In addition to today’s Hawaiian and United flight diversions, we have been notified of additional Hawaiian flight diversions on Alaska Airlines and Southwest Airlines. These are shown below.
Today’s Hawaiian Airlines Hawaii flight diversion.
Hawaiian Airlines A330 Flight 3 from LAX to HNL was diverted this morning and returned to Los Angeles approximately 2 hours after departure. At this point it is still on the ground. We are not sure if the flight to Honolulu will continue or has been canceled altogether. Reader Nico reported that this was caused by a mechanical issue. Coincidentally, Editor Jeff was only two days ago on the Hawaii flight from LA to Honolulu.
On July 22, Hawaiian also suffered a mechanically induced flight diversion en route from San Diego to Maui.
Today’s United Airlines Hawaii flight diversion.
First, the United Airlines flight from San Francisco to Honolulu never made it to Hawaii today. Instead, the captain turned the wide-body Boeing 777-200 back to San Francisco. This was the second United Airlines Hawaii-related flight diversion in two weeks. As you can see in the tally we keep below, there has been what appears to be an unusual number of Hawaii flight diversions recently.
That flight, UA1509, was leaving San Francisco at 5:18 p.m. local time and was about to cross the Pacific Ocean when something serious happened. The aircraft returned to its departure point in San Francisco at 8:02 p.m.
It has been reported to us but remains unconfirmed that a passenger may have suffered a dangerous medical condition that led to the diversion. Mark B. reported the “reason – vague information about a traveler who was mentally ill and his behavior became erratic.”
Kevin C. added, “I was on UA1509. The guy got in and tried to take an economy plus seat (22B) in front of me. Interestingly, he had no pockets and was quite dodgy. The lady assigned to that seat came and forced him to return to his 46K seat. 1.5 hours in flight he stood at door 2 left lav. Soon there were about 4 people around the sink and moments later he stumbled out and fell to the floor. The crew inspected the sink with their flashlights and I saw a crew with the smoke detector in the galley. They finally buckled him in 16F and you could hear him yelling and swearing all the way back to the SFO. Surprisingly, he got off the plane without resistance (to the voices of other passengers booing, of course) and we were given $60 coupons.”
The United plane was in the air from takeoff to landing in just 2 hours and 44 minutes. That’s less than the approximately 5 hours and 15 minutes it takes to arrive in Honolulu. So it wasn’t halfway through when the decision was made to return to San Francisco.
Two weeks ago, the other UAL flight diversion incident was of a different medical nature. An apparent food allergy caused this.
The reasons for flight diversions vary greatly.
These flight diversions can occur due to a variety of issues, including medical (both physical and otherwise, relating to crew and passengers), weather, unruly activity (which may or may not have been a component), and mechanical issues. Someone even mentioned recently that solar flares might cause more mechanical distractions. Hawaii flights have ETOPS for mechanical issues as this is the world’s longest stretch of ocean with no diversion points.
In the last 60 days alone, there have been twelve flight diversions in Hawaii.
3 4 Alaska Airlines flight diversions.
- August 8 OGG-SAN. mechanical cause.
- Aug. 9 HNL-SAN. mechanical cause.
- August 10 SAN-HNL. mechanical cause.
- September 9 SAN-LIH.
3 4 Southwest Airlines flight diversions.
- July 25 KOA LAS.
- August 6 OGG SMF.
- August 15 OAK-OGG.
- 5 September OGG-LAS.
2 United Airlines flight diversions.
- 4 Sep SFO-SIN (redirected to HNL). Medical cause.
- 21 September SFO-HNL. Medical cause.
1 2 Hawaiian Airlines flight diversions.
- July 22 SAN-OGG. mechanical cause.
- 22 September LAX-HNL. mechanical problem.
Do you know what caused one of those flight diversions? Please inform us.