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Frequent Flyer Criticized for Suggesting United Airlines Was Reckless for Diverting Jet Because Flight Attendant Was Suffering Chest Pains

Frequent Flyer Criticized for Suggesting United Airlines Was Reckless for Diverting Jet Because Flight Attendant Was Suffering Chest Pains

an airport with airplanes parked on the ground
Story Highlights
  • United Airlines flight diverted to Manaus for medical emergency
  • A crew member is said to have been suffering chest pains
  • The Boeing 767 made a ‘hard landing’ after four hours in the air
  • A passenger questioned whether United should have carried on the flight as normal

A frequent flyer has been blasted my fellow travellers after claiming United Airlines may have “endangered” the lives of hundreds of passengers in order to “address a single crew member’s medical issue”.  The passenger, who posted his or her rant on the popular aviation community site Flyer Talk, asked fellow members whether he was being callous or if, in fact, United had been “reckless to take such actions”.

Going by the name of ‘e4west’, the original poster had been a passenger on United Airlines flight UA128 from Rio de Janeiro (GIG) to Houston (IAH) when it was forced to divert to Manaus airport in northern Brazil around four hours after departure last night.  As the Boeing 767 still had a lot of fuel onboard for the normal 10-hour flight to Houston, the poster said it had a very hard landing.

Here’s how he described the whole incident which he titled: “United Crash Lands Flight to Help Elderly Crew Member in Distress.”

“I am on United flight UA 128 from GRU to IAH. A crew member was experiencing chest pains and the captain made the decision to make an emergency night landing at MAO. The captain informed us that the plane was overweight for the landing which caused a very hard landing and potentially damaging the plane. The plane is now being inspected by an MAO mechanic for damage including the brakes per the captain.

It seems to me that hundreds of passengers lives were endangered to address a single crew member’s medical issue.

Am I just being callous or was United reckless to take such actions?”

Unsurprisingly, other flyers were quick to jump to the defence of United, explaining that the opinion of the passenger is not only callous but perhaps even worse.

“Just ask yourself.. what if that was you or a family member travelling with you.  I am sure you would feel different,” one person replied, while another wrote: “Wow.  I just can’t with some people.  This was a medical emergency. They made a heavy/long landing. They are doing typical safety checks before going. The only person’s life in danger was the person having a medical emergency.”

A third, who identified himself as a pilot for United Airlines agreed that the decision to divert was the right thing to do, writing: “As a captain for United, I would have done the same thing in a heart-beat, for any passenger or crew member, including yourself.”

Other’s, meanwhile, took the time to explain that an overweight landing is perfectly safe and most definitely isn’t considered a “crash landing”.

In a statement United airlines told us: “United 128 from Rio de Janeiro to Houston diverted to Manaus, Brazil on Monday, due to a flight attendant who experienced a medical issue onboard.”

“The aircraft landed safely and taxied to a gate, where customers were provided amenities and later departed to Houston. Due to the crew time limits, the airplane will make a brief stop in Orlando for a new crew before arriving in Houston today.”

United did not provide an update on the condition of the flight attendant.

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