Another Airline Found Issues With Its Planes After Alaska Airlines Door Blowout
Alaska Airlines customers got quite the mid-flight surprise on Jan. 5 when one of the plane’s side panels blew off at 16,000 feet. The incident has sparked international attention and concern about the Boeing 737 Max 9 model and its presence in other airlines’ fleets.
After the Alaska Airlines debacle, United Airlines began conducting its own investigation of its 737 Max 9 aircraft to find any possible hidden issues. The company confirmed on Jan. 7 that it found issues with some of the planes’ door plugs—the same part that caused the rapid depressurization aboard the Alaska flight.
“Since we began preliminary inspections on Saturday, we have found instances that appear to relate to installation issues in the door plug—for example, bolts that needed additional tightening,” the company said in a statement, per The Air Current. “These findings will be remedied by our Tech Ops team to safely return the aircraft to service.”
United and Alaska are the only airlines in the U.S. that fly the 737 Max 9. With 79 of these planes at its disposal, United boasts the most in its fleet, while Alaska has 65. So far, five United planes have been found to have issues in need of fixing, including loose bolts that could’ve led to something catastrophic if left untreated. The planes themselves aren’t even that old; they were delivered to United between November 2022 and September 2023.
Meanwhile, Alaska and United passengers across the country are looking for new travel plans after both airlines canceled hundreds of flights out of an abudance of precaution. The National Transportation Security Board’s investigation is ongoing.