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United pilot makes ‘terrifying’ explosion announcement before emergency landing

HOUSTON, TEXAS — Passengers had a shock on a United Airlines flight last week on Friday after the pilot reportedly made a “terrifying” announcement about an explosion in the cargo hold. ( More...

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Brian Rushfeldt 29
note this is WHAT a pax. said to a reporter... so what did the Captain ACTUALLY announce. I really doubt the word explosion was used.
DonDengler 5
Phil Howry 20
Why does this headline focus on what the pilot may have said versus the actual cause for the emergency landing? Obviously some unforeseen event in the flight occurred; was the source of the event in the passenger's luggage, or commercial cargo being transported on the flight?

Evidently, the aircraft made a safe landing and all the openings in the aircraft remained operational, to include the "cargo hold".
Dale Ballok 5
Don’t see any headline focus on the pilot’s announcement. I have to admit though, that that’s a common occurrence.
alex hidveghy 7
Very bad and inconsistent reporting! Doesn’t tell us anything except what a bozo pax said! Like he’s an expert on something he doesn’t understand……
lynx318 2
Definitely, how about they get some official information, we still don't know what actually happened.
JohnTuthill 15
I noticed that there is no byline on this article, makes sense as who would want their name associated with this garbage reporting. One "witness", no corroboration with any of the other 161 pax on that 737
EMK69 33
I would like to hear what others might have said, NOT some 20-year old that gets excited and posts language like >>>>There was a fucking explosion on my plane. Everyone is out on the tarmac. Fire marshal is here and it’s freezing outside.<<<<

As much as this old retired Marine doesn't want the good ole days, some days I feel we should go back to the draft.

Now having said that, who actually was terrified, and what type of actual announcement was it. Somehow I really doubt a PC would make a terrifying explosion announcement. Are we grabbing headlines here so more people will read the article or what was actually said? Austin is not considered "Freezing" weather by any means of course coming from Santa Ana the temp might drop a few degrees.

This article, and the author, seem to make it sound more like a bigger deal than it actually was. In this case, I'm inclined to believe United and their press release then some kid who has a few passenger miles under his belt......I'm sure this kid has built up the story since landing like I was near death almost died and I saw my life flash before my eyes.
Franky16 9
Agree - some of the authors on this newsletter seem to have no idea of airline activities, and not much more about journalism.
Mark Kortum 7
and Austin does not use "tarmac" (gravel and tar) on its paved surfaces either. No airports that handle commercial traffic use it. Shows the guy's ignorance even further.
David Beattie 3
Not really. Tarmac has become a generic expression for pavement at airports.
RdRocket16 13
it was 63 @ 4pm on march 11th in Austin.
freezing? Its 66 here and im sitting outside loving the weather!
Bob Harrington 11
...but the windchill! Felt like 59°! =)
dmanuel 10
I agree with you (fellow) Devil Dog. I rather doubt the announcement included the word 'explosion'. Perhaps it was a way to draw attention to himself. Wait, if he wants attention how about putting himself on the yellow footprints?
James Harris 2
Makes ya wonder what the difference between an explosion and a sexual intercourse explosion is.
travistx 1
It wasn't exactly freezing, but the temperature was in the high 30s to low 40s with a stiff breeze in Austin that day.
theo schefferlie 1
It was between 74 and 77 on that day in Austin, probably felt like 85 on the tarmac
Bob Harrington 2
Because "United Flight Makes Precautionary Landing; No Injuries" wouldn't suck in the clicks.
Leander Williams 6
That's the nature of media right now. Everyone wants to have something go viral. What the Captain probably said was, "Ladies and gentlemen, this is your Captain. One of our instruments just detected something out of the ordinary in the cargo compartment. Out of an abundance of caution, we are going to descend and land at the nearest airfield. Everything is under control and we'll have you on the ground shortly."
WhiteKnight77 1
I am of the mind that the title of the article was to fit into the need information fast crowd, no matter how accurate such may be.
Doug Parker 4
There's always the message and... its messenger.

IMHO, the elephant in the room is that by default, we dismiss the messenger and their effect surrounding the message. It's not off the mark to say the culture conditions us to *not* address the messenger, and there's the source of the problem.

For some reason, this article has exposed the elephant.

Michael Yentzer 4
OK what caused the Noise? Any report.
Karl Scribner 6
I think it was the F bomb in the twit’s twit…
ToddBaldwin3 13
While I definitely believe flight crews should keep the pax informed, I think the pilot might have been a little less dramatic here. Maybe announcing a problem is causing us to divert might have been better. Just my opinion. How would the professionals handled this announcement?
Brian Rushfeldt 11
hey note this was what some pax. said to a reporter -- not what the captain siad.
alex hidveghy 6
Ahem, read the article! The headline doesn’t match the story! What you actually read in the narrative was some kid who didn’t have a clue what was going on! Wow….
Larry Toler 1
I agree with you. Unlike most flight attendants I used to like to keep my pax aware of what's going on but no need for specifics.
That said, we were supposed to repo a flight a J41 from TRI back to our staging airport to PIT (flying as US Airways Express). We had a MX team aboard but we actually had one paying passenger and the MX wasn't so bad we could make it a revenue flight. Some sheet metal behind the number one engine came loose and our one pax brought it to my attention. It wasn't ritical but it did result in a little drag. I called to the flight deck and told my pilots. Then I told the MRT we had aboard, "Goddamit Bobby, I told you we needed more LAPSE tape on that panel." We had a good laugh but I had to explain to our passenger that it's no big deal, sorry for being unprofessional about the situation, shit happens. That said, I'm used to C5's and 141's coming into statio alpha two with various write up. I still love flying and considerate the safest mode of transportation. Between MX, ramp, and flight crews 99.9% of us are very professional when it comes to safety.
sparkie624 -9
From what I am reading, it was not the pilot, it was the Automated Announcement, note the article: "“The public announcement system came on and said that there was an explosion"
coinflyer 8
Is there even such a thing as "automated announcements" on passenger airliners these days? That'd be ridiculous to me, since pax comms should remain entirely under the control and discretion of the pilots and staff. I can understand prerecorded announcements and messages that can be played at crew discretion, but fully automated announcements? That seems new and weird, and potentially dangerous.
mary susan watkins 12
several years back on most airlines, the flight attendant safety briefing was made automated with a video screen and recorded announcement played as the aircraft was leaving the gate..i have never heard of an automated recording coming from the cockpit with regard to ANY safety issue, as it would be much more frightening to a passenger than the actual cockpit crew giving a quick "we have a mechanical issue and are returning to the gate" type of announcement..NO CAPTAIN in his right mind would say to a plane full of passengers,we had an explosion in the baggage/cargo hold,or panic would ensue..!!
alex hidveghy 4
Of course! That was a snotty nosed kid saying that, not the PIC! People need to read the whole narrative and then compare it to the misleadin* headline! They clearly, do not match!
carste10 2
Do they have one for "Left wing fell off..." ?
Bob Harrington 3
No, they just play the 'right wing fell off' announcement backwards. =)
alex hidveghy 1
Nope, not for non-normal ops! For flight attendant and safety announcements on the ground, yes.
SorenTwin 5
There is no public announcement system that would ever tell passengers that there's been an explosion on the plane.
Dale Ballok 2
DonDengler 1
NO such thing. As “
Automated Announcement. It’s clear you’ve never been on a airplane before.
alex hidveghy 1
Actually, there are some! But not from the flight deck. Try flying on a Virgin Atlantic B787 and you will hear the automated safety briefing with accompanying graphics on the screen while the aircraft is taxiing out for takeoff.
High tech, I know but it’s there…….
Stephen Donnelly 6
No excuse for the pax to be out on the tarmac for an hour waiting for a shuttle bus!
travistx 6
I agree, but they don't use passenger shuttle buses at AUS like they do at large, crowded airports, so I doubt that there was a suitable vehicle available. I'll guess that they probably had to get a bus from CapMetro to come out to transport everyone to the terminal.
Dale Ballok 3
It takes time to rustle up some busses. Can’t do it at the snap of a finger. PAX were deplaned on the tarmac. Where else do you think they can go? They’re out in the middle of runways! I just thought an hour seemed to be a long time to get some busses.
chugheset 1
"where else could they go"? How about a loading bridge at an unused gate?
alex hidveghy 2
We’re any available? That’s not the usual SOP for events like this. It also depends on how much notice was given to ops and the airport operator…….
S C 3
Since when is anybody able to hear or understand what the pilot says
greg cotten 2
More click bait! Fake News, whatever!
lynx318 2
This account sounds more realistic than some millennial twitter twit's over exaggeration.
"Some passengers on the flight reported that they heard a small pop, almost like an explosion, but there was not any apparent damage. Other passengers stated that the crew announced that there was possibly a fire, due to a small explosion in the cargo bay."
George Wilhelmsen 4
It's a perfect example of being factual, but too many people got butt-hurt (and COLD).

Perhaps a better explanation would have been to keep the passengers free from such information - "Ladies and gentlemen, we have had a minor mechanical issue, and are diverting to Austin for a precautionary landing."

Then brief the flight attendants as to what may or may not be present to aid them in evacuation.

If they think it's freezing in Austin, they should come up to Chicago. We'll show them freezing. Austin is comfortable compared to Chicago (today 40 deg F and 30 mph winds).
travistx 2
That's pretty much exactly the weather they had in Austin that day, and I doubt that any of the pax heading from SoCal to Houston were prepared for it.
Dale Ballok 1
Wonder why it took so long to round up some busses?
Doug Parker 1
And my brain goes to this possible solution:
have articulated city busses built into the
emergency response crew's fleet, used when
weather conditions or the situation merits.

Yeah, I know "extra expense, yadda, yadda..."
but at least it's a thought in the right
alex hidveghy 2
Yup, or even MN! What a wimp that snotty nosed kid is……
Dale Ballok 1
Exactly! Using the word”explosion” in an aircraft should be eliminated, unless extremely necessary.
Mike Zorro 3
All this MSM clickbait sensationalism “reporting” is utter crap. I had to search for an actual journalist, instead of parroting of the MSM take, which conveniently omits the fact this is Boeing AGAIN — just as United omitted the aircraft type in their press release.. ~MZorro

“Simple Flying reached out to United Airlines for comment,

“United flight 2425 from Orange County, California to Houston diverted to Austin out of an abundance of caution for a mechanical issue. The plane landed safely, passengers deplaned on the airfield and were transported to the terminal. We have assigned a new plane to continue the flight to Houston.”

Some passengers on the flight reported that they heard a small pop, almost like an explosion, but there was not any apparent damage. Other passengers stated that the crew announced that there was possibly a fire, due to a small explosion in the cargo bay.

One of the passengers on the flight shared a video on Twitter once he was safely on the ground. *Note, the video contains explicit language...”
Sam Hobbs 2
Yes, the important thing is that this qualifies as clickbait. I do not know if FlightAware has any reason to post clickbait but I hope this was just a mistake.

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

alex hidveghy 5
What happened to you? How about your spelling? OMG, full postal here…….
Mike Zorro 1
I’d be interested to hear the cp-tower exchange. By all accounts this was routine. The aircraft was in service by the next day.
alex hidveghy 2
Of course! At my airport it would be considered an Alert 2, most of which happily end at the gate after emergency services and Airport Ops follow the aircraft in, if it’s not disabled on landing. Depends on the situation.
This sounds like a bit of sensationalism!
You should hear or see some of the aircraft events I’ve handled over the years! Far more action than this one…….just sayin’
Mike Zorro 1
The aircraft type, and relevant facts like this was 1- neither an emergency landing, nor 2- an explosion, is relevant information that the flying public should know.

It’s the difference between corporate stenographer clickbait and an actual journalism.
Id Rocketeer 3
At least w/ regard to the "freezing" aspect he was not far wrong. With wind chill factored in it was very close.
DonDengler 3
On a ORD LAS trip Capt beckoned me to CP to inform me as First F/A of this trip there was a bomb scare. And not to tell my flying partners is of it bc panic could spread throughout the cabin. So we proceeded
To LAS landed w/o incident and all was well. Capt
Should not have announced such to a load
Of pax.
lynx318 1
"There was an explosion!" Investigators find a champagne bottle popped it's cork in the cargo. (manic laughter)
Brian Rushfeldt 1
I am very surprised the Flight Aware even posted this story based on some whacko video self making such accusations. but not surprised at the the so called news site.
Jim Smith 1
Typical journalism full of stupidity
skanks 1
skanks 1
Richard Haas 1
The reporter did the best they could with the available information such as it was. Airport employees, airline employees, TSA, etc., etc., have strict instructions not to speak to the press.
Don Bissell 1
Typical social media material IMHO. Where is the objective reporting? Any technical topic like aviation needs informed and articulate handling to make any sense to readers. Aviation reporting is essentially technical COMMUNICATION which means complete, ACCURATE and useful. So, what that means is the reader needs to be able to interpret the content.


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