Last updated: 01:53 PM ET, Thu April 07 2016

United Airlines Flight is Diverted Following Fuel Issues

Impacting Travel | Donald Wood | April 07, 2016

United Airlines Flight is Diverted Following Fuel Issues

Photo courtesy of United Airlines

On Sunday, a United Airlines flight en route to San Francisco from Hawaii was forced to return to the island after the plane developed a fuel issue due to strong headwinds.

According to, United Airlines Flight 724 and the 275 people onboard encountered strong headwinds about two hours into the flight. The aircraft began to burn more fuel than expected, forcing the pilot to call for the plane to return to Honolulu International Airport.

ABC aviation expert John Nance released a statement heralding the pilot for making the correct decision, saying, “When the headwinds are greater than what were expected, and are going to be sustained for four or five hours of flight, you're simply not going to be able to land with your legal minimum of fuel. It doesn't mean you're going to run out, but it means you're not going to be legal. That's when you have to turn around."

When asked to expand on the regulations surrounding the legal minimum of fuel, the Federal Aviation Administration told, “Regulations for international operations require fuel on board at takeoff to include: fuel to the destination, plus fuel to the most distant alternate, plus en route contingency based on a percentage of flight time, plus 30 minutes holding at 1,500 feet above the airport.”

In response to the incident, United Airlines revealed that the company booked all passengers on the flight in a hotel for the night and rewarded them with meal vouchers for the inconvenience, as well as adding an extra flight Monday to get the passengers to San Francisco.


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