United 7212 and the Unsafe Skies

I fly more than my fair share. Service keeps getting worse but so do the air planes. I fly United because they have a large set of connections in DC and Chicago. This week I took four flights on United. Three of them had mechanical issues. My flight departing BTV last Sunday had mechanical issues so I missed my connection and spent the night at IAD. My flight to Las Vegas from San Fransisco had an hydraulic leak. Then there was United Airlines flight 7212 tonight from DC back to Burlington. I knew something was up on approach because we missed the airport on our first attempt. Second try I see all the fire trucks out on the runway, plus three ambulances and several cop cars. Not good but not necessarily us as we could have been waved off for some other flight. You know things are not well when the fire trucks follow you. Turns out we had no flaps. Not the end of the world but more exciting than I’d like.

The United fleet seems to be in bad shape and getting worse. Three mechanical issues out of four United flights this week. Time to move more flights to Jet Blue and Southwest.

2 thoughts on “United 7212 and the Unsafe Skies

  1. I was on that flight. I am a commercial pilot with an IFR and class 1 flight instructor rating.I also knew something was miserably wrong, and actually said a short prayer. When we landed I went to inquire about what happened. No one was at the United counter but I heard several airport employees talking about the event. One even commenting on how terrifying it must have been. When the next guy said “Which one, the one with no flaps or the one with no fuel?” I asked which was my plane. “what airport” I was asked, Washington /Dulles I replied “NO FLAPS” he replied. The United Customer service in India offered my girlfriend a $100 voucher off our next united flight…..if my girlfriend ever flies again. The FAA were aware of the incident and had been talking about it all morning. My complaint to the FAA concerned the flight attendant who had a fear of public speaking and secondly and far more importantly the lack of a pre emergency briefing by the pilot to all passengers on board. Flaps change the configuration of the wing allowing for better forward visibility and lower, safer landing speeds. Of course no Captain would want to alarm passengers and cause a state of panic in the cabin, however, once the emergency was declared ,just prior to touchdown it would have been nice to tell everyone to tighten their seatbelts, remove their glasses and bend over and be ready to kiss your collective asses goodbye because we might not be able to stop at the end of the runway.

  2. I live in Hong Kong. I flew to Paris this month without incident on Air France, but another flight from Rio to Paris went down as you know.

    Flying is statistically very, very safe. However, it contributes heavily to global warming and I am researching alternative ways of getting to Europe and the USA.

    Friends in transportation advise me that TGV technology is coming to Eurasia, so I hope to be able to take a sleeper (private room for me so I can read and work) in about 4 days to get to Europe.

    USA is tougher. I’d like to be able to drive to Chicago from Hong Kong, but this would require visas, permits, and a Bering Strait ferry. I hope that as flying is seen to be environmentally damaging and very slightly unsafe in the more intense weather caused by global warming, land transport will become economically viable. Perhaps ship service could be re-introduced. It would also be affected by more intense storms, but could use satellite weather technology in a way it could not in the old days to stay out of trouble.

    Consider using foreign carriers. Emirates’ service and safety appear top-notch. Of course, it is no good for USA domestic flights.

    The fixed cost of aviation may be less economic owing to fuel costs and safety problems caused by weather changes.

    Flying is still safe, and most crew are as professional as Captain Sullenberger, who landed the US Airways flight in the Hudson last January. Sounds like you had some bad luck, and I hope you have better luck in the future.

Comments are closed.