A United Express flight to Chattanooga, Tenn. was forced to make a u-turn and return to Chicago O’Hare because the plane was deemed too large to land safely in Chattanooga. The incident happened last week when flight 5277 was upgraded from a 50-seat Bombardier CRJ-200 to the larger 76-seat ERJ-175. Passengers describe being in-flight for about an hour when the pilot came over the PA to announce that they’d be returning to Chicago. Apparently, the airport lacked the ground equipment to handle that incoming aircraft.
Your 2:13 p.m. United flight to Chattanooga is delayed because of unforeseen circumstances. This is an unusual situation and we’re working hard to solve it. We value your time and we’re sorry for the inconvenience.
Passengers were provided with Cheez-Its, pretzels, and water while they waited in Chicago for an available CRJ-200. No word from United or Skywest as to why no one checked with the airport to see if the necessary equipment and ground crews were available before swapping the aircraft.
“On October 16, SkyWest flight 5277 operating as United Express from Chicago to Chattanooga, Tennessee returned to Chicago to change aircraft. The flight landed safely in Chicago, departed for Chattanooga on a different aircraft and landed safely in Chattanooga. We apologized to our passengers for the inconvenience and worked with our partner, United, to provide compensation.”+
Passengers each received a $300 flight voucher for a future trip and landed 3 hours behind schedule in Tennesse.