American Airlines put people back on the same plane after a midair electrical fault — and it happened again

  • American Airlines passengers whose flight from LAX to JFK suffered an emergency landing were put back on the same aircraft the next day — which experienced issues again.
  • American said the fault, which happened Wednesday, was with a chiller on board. One passenger said it released a “sudden burst of smoke.”
  • The original flight made an emergency landing in Phoenix, and passengers were put on the same Airbus A321 on the following day.
  • During the second flight, a similar issue occurred with the chiller, American confirmed to Business Insider.
  • This meant the plane had to go back to Phoenix, where it was taken out of service.

American Airlines passengers on Thursday were put back onto an aircraft which was forced into an emergency landing the previous day after an electrical fault, and the same thing happened again.

The passengers had spent an unscheduled night in Phoenix, Arizona, on their way from Los Angeles International Airport to New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, because of an electrical fault with a chiller on board the Airbus A321.

But, shortly into their replacement flight to New York, staff noticed a similar fault, which meant the plane had to land again.

Passengers were put on flight AA9240 just after noon Thursday, about 12 hours after the emergency landing, which was at around midnight the night before.

They spent less than a half hour in the air before coming back, after what American described an “electrical smell” started to emit from the device. This map, from the tracking website Flightradar24, shows the brief journey:

aa9240 phoenix map
A map of the AA9240 flight, which landed just after takeoff because of an “electrical smell.”

A passenger on board, who asked not to be named, described the experience to Business Insider. American Airlines confirmed the details of the passenger’s account.

A spokesman for the airline said the Airbus A321 had undergone maintenance work between the two flights. After the second landing, it was taken out of service altogether.

A statement said:

“The aircraft that was previously diverted to Phoenix the other night was fixed Thursday morning. The issue was isolated to the aircraft chiller in the forward galley of the aircraft. Most passengers had already been rebooked on other flights from Phoenix to New York, when the flight continued under Flight 9240.

(Sometimes when we have the same flight number operating on the same day we need to renumber the flight number.)

Once airborne from Phoenix, a similar issue involving an odor from the chiller was noticed by our crew, and the flight returned back to Phoenix. The aircraft is out of service, as our team continues to troubleshoot the source of the odor, which may be a faulty fan.

The return on the second flight was NOT an emergency landing, and it was an electrical smell from the area where the chiller is installed in the front galley.”

After the second landing, passenger Addisa Gugal tweeted:“Complete disregard for passenger safety.”

“After making an emergency landing last night because the cabin smelled like an electrical fire, American Airlines put us back on the same plane this morning because they ‘needed the plane in NY’ and we had to make another emergency landing.”

Read moreThe 21 safest airlines in the world

Another passenger, who wished to remain anonymous, told Business Insider that passengers were not aware they were getting back on the same plane from the previous day.

A third passenger, Jason Gallus, tweeted: “I was on flight AA10 last night LAX to JFK and smoke filled up the cabin and we had to make an emergency landing in Phoenix.”

“Then this morning my parents went on the same aircraft flight AA9240 and 20 minutes into the flight had to make another emergency landing, with all the same passengers.”

American Airlines
American Airlines is the largest aircraft operator in the US.

On the first flight from LAX on Wednesday, passenger Terron Austin tweeted that there had been a “sudden burst of smoke followed by an announcement to immediately prepare for landing.”

American said it was investigating the reports of smoke on the first flight, but strongly denied that there had been smoke on the second.

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