‘Genuinely concerning’: United Airlines is having a very bad week

In the latest example of troubling maintenance issues among major U.S. airliners, a United Airlines plane taking off from San Francisco International Airport Thursday morning lost a tire shortly after taking off.

The tire from the Boeing 777-200 landed in a nearby parking lot, damaging several vehicles, according to NBC Bay Area.

The seemingly growing number of mechanical issues involving flights coincides with a growing focus on the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) push for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).

Actor James Woods shared a video of the wheel being jettisoned from the United flight, tweeting: “This is getting to be genuinely concerning…”

United Flight 35 was headed to Japan but was diverted to Los Angeles. According to SFO spokesman Doug Yakel, the tire came down in an airport employee parking lot.

Video footage of the damaged vehicles can be seen here:

Aviation expert Mike McCarron told the NBC affiliate that the incident is very rare and that the United maintenance process deserves scrutiny.

“It’s remarkable that this happened at all,” McCarron said. “Fortunately no one was injured.”

“It’s like you bought a Chevy two, three years ago and the wheel came off. Well, who’s maintaining your car for you at that time? This is where I really think they’ll be focusing on United’s maintenance procedures and look at their paperwork and see where things happened,” he added. “Now, if they point to a structural problem, then you’re going to get Boeing involved as far as the build of the aircraft.”

A Boeing 737 MAX 8 for United Airlines reportedly incurred landing gear failure Friday morning during an attempt to land at Houston Intercontinental Airport, resulting in the plane going off of the runway.

On Monday, a United flight from Houston to Fort Myers, Florida, was forced turn around Monday after one of the plane’s engines caught fire over the Gulf of Mexico.

“I remember there was just this bright, flashing light that came through the window, and it sounded like a bomb went off, and then it was just a strobe of fire out the window,” passenger David Gruninger told KTRK.

“It was a very turbulent ride back, and it was a pretty harsh landing,” he added. “This is something I’ll remember every time I get on a flight now.”

Embattled United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby was in the news recently, when a video emerged of him seemingly twerking in drag. There was also questions about whether a relatively recent United Airlines hard landing was attributable to the company’s DEI agenda.

Back in January, a Delta Boeing 757 lost a wheel while it was preparing to take off at Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

The same month, an Atlas Air Boeing 747 burst into flames mid-air on its way from Miami International Airport to Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport in Puerto Rico.

The most dramatic incident this year also took place in January when an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft lost its “door plug” shortly after departing Portland International Airport. The pilot had to make an emergency landing. There were no serious injuries.

Two flight attendants terminated by Alaska Airlines filed a lawsuit in January alleging religious discrimination in connection to the company’s diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) mandate.

Speaking of Alaska Airlines:

Here’s a few responses to the story, as seen on X:

Tom Tillison


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