United Airlines Cancels 31 Flights

United Airlines canceled 31 flights today to test the fire suppression system. It’s just the latest in a series of self-imposed groundings and butteningups by airlines hoping to avoid the negative PR Southwest experienced when a CNN investigation three weeks ago revealed the airline flew over 100 plans with thousands of passengers while skipping required safety inspections.

United Cancels 31 Flights for Inspections [NYT]
Records: Southwest Airlines flew ‘unsafe’ planes [CNN]
(Photo: zonaphoto)


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  1. Nighthawke says:

    I wonder how many of those cancellations involved the same aircraft that were grounded for the PREVIOUS inspection?

  2. MissPeacock says:

    Those are some dangerous plans.

  3. TechnoDestructo says:

    Yes, because cancelling flights in order to do inspections shows how on-the-ball they are with inspections to begin with. (I mean it strongly suggests that they’ve been flying planes that should have been inspected sooner, and definitely shows that they had been intending to do so)

  4. nycaviation says:

    Nighthawke: Zero. These were only 777s, where as the previous inspections were 747s.

  5. starrion says:

    Well now that the emphasis has gone from on-time performance to complicance with Airworthiness directives and inspections, I expect to see plenty of delays.

    This should make the system lots safer- after all having all those commercial airliners falling out of the sky and the thousands of deaths prevented is worth it.

    Oh, wait. There hasn’t been a mainline aircraft lost in the US since 2001. Maybe we can vastly improve the Regionals since they have lost a total of two since 2001.
    The industry is already safe.

  6. tom2133 says:

    I hope they are taking a look at dangerous grounding planes as well as plans.

  7. pianos101 says:

    starrion: you are absolutely right, but people that aren’t in the know about aviation (read: 99.9% of the public) see how the mainstream media blows this stuff out of proportion and get all worried. The media shouldn’t talk about things they know nothing about. I think on some level the media is forcing the airlines to do all of these inspections… I just don’t think the airlines can ever win in their eyes….

  8. dewald says:

    Not to nit pick, BUT…… ;)

    Could you have at least put up a picture of a ‘real’ United plane (Yes, I know TED is part of UniTED) and if not a 777, at least a Boeing of some sort, instead of the Bus.

    Thanks for the great work,


  9. AndyDuncan says:

    @MissPeacock: @tom2133:

    People. Settle down. They formed the plans into paper planes before flying them. Sheesh.

  10. ywgflyer says:

    From what I heard, the inspections were regarding the tests (or lack of) of the 5th fire bottle in the cargo hold…it’s not exactly like flying without inspecting it is going to bring an airliner down the next day, but it’s still…y’know, not following the maintenance schedule.

    At least they disclosed the problem to the FAA and fixed it, instead of sweeping it under the rug.

    @dewald: Good to see someone else decided to call out the A320 picture, or else I would’ve =)

  11. kalikidtx says:

    Of course these airlines are doing these last-minute inspections that cause these large to massive airline-wide cancellations to avoid bad PR -and- FAA fines and penalties. They do not want to end up in the position Southwest has found itself in.

    These airlines should also be fined for these last-minute flight cancelling-type inspections that leads to even more frustration to paying customers. These airlines have all year or in some cases years to inspect all their planes and a reasonable airline would schedule these inspections as to not affect system-wide customer travel.

  12. People Paula says:

    OK, so now I can’t fly Southwest, US Air or United? Options are dwindling….

  13. aikoto says:

    Ok, so how come no one is asking what happened to the people who were supposed to be on those planes? Did they get reinbursed, provided alternate flights? Who cares about their maintenance? What about the people who got suckerpunched?

  14. Buran says:

    @aikoto: Because I think it’s been covered to death by now that if a cancellation is not a weather delay, the airline is responsible for making sure you get on another flight.