Just updated at 1:00 pm to reflect there are now three diversions we just learned of, including two today. Thanks to readers Elizabeth S., Mark B., Nico, and Kevin C. for their input and help with today’s updates. We welcome and appreciate your tips!
In addition to today’s flight diversions at Hawaiian and United, we were informed of additional Hawaii flight diversions at Alaska Airlines and Southwest Airlines. Those are shown below.
Today’s Hawaiian Airlines Hawaii flight diversion.
Hawaiian Airlines A330 Flight 3 from LAX to HNL diverted this morning, returning to Los Angeles about 2 hours after departure. At this time, it is still on the ground. We are not sure if the flight is continuing to Honolulu or has been canceled entirely. Reader Nico reported this was caused by a mechanical issue. Coincidentally, editor Jeff was on the Hawaiian flight from LA to Honolulu just two days ago.
On July 22, Hawaiian also suffered a mechanically caused 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 Boeing 777-200 widebody plane back to San Francisco. This was the second United Airlines Hawaii-related flight diversion in two weeks. As you’ll see in the tally we are keeping below, there have been a seemingly unusual number of Hawaii flight diversions very recently.
This flight, UA1509, departed San Francisco at 5:18 pm local time and was headed across the Pacific when something serious occurred. The plane arrived back in San Francisco, at its starting point, at 8:02 pm.
It was reported to us but remains unconfirmed that a passenger may have suffered a dangerous health situation resulting in the diversion. Mark B. reported the “Reason – vague details about a traveler who was mentally ill and his behavior was becoming erratic.”
Kevin C. added, “I was on UA1509. The guy boarded and tried to take an Economy Plus seat (22B) in front of me. Interestingly, he had no bags and was pretty shifty. The lady assigned to that seat came and made him go back to his seat 46K. 1.5 hours into the flight he got up to the door 2 left lav. Soon there were ~4 crew around the lava and moments later he stumbled out and fell to the ground. The crew were inspecting the lava with their flashlights and I saw one crew with the smoke detector panel in the galley. They eventually got him buckled into 16F and you could hear him shouting and cursing the whole way back to SFO. Surprisingly, he got off the plane with no resistance (of course, to the tune of other passengers booing him) and we got $60 vouchers.”
The United plane was in the air for just 2 hours 44 minutes from takeoff to landing. That’s less than the approximately 5 hours and 15 minutes needed to arrive in Honolulu. So it was not at the halfway point yet, 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 that.
Causes for flight diversions vary greatly.
These flight diversions can occur for any number of issues, including medical (both physical and otherwise, related to crew and passengers), weather, unruly activity (which may or may not have been a component), and mechanical issues. Someone recently even mentioned that solar flares might cause more mechanical diversions. Hawaii flights have ETOPS for mechanical problems since this is the world’s longest stretch of ocean without diversion points.
There have been twelve Hawaii flight diversions in just the past 60 days.
3 4 Alaska Airlines flight diversions.
- August 8 OGG-SAN. Mechanical cause.
- August 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.
- September 5 OGG-LAS.
2 United Airlines flight diversions.
- September 4 SFO-SIN (diverted to HNL). Medical cause.
- September 21 SFO-HNL. Medical cause.
1 2 Hawaiian Airlines flight diversions.
- July 22 SAN-OGG. Mechanical cause.
- September 22 LAX-HNL. Mechanical issue.
Do you know what caused any of these flight diversions? Please let us know.