Lightning Does Strike Twice: Two Alaska Airlines 737s Out of Service, One After the Other

Two Alaska Airlines planes were struck by lightning on Monday in Alaska and taken out of service for routing inspections.

While on average it’s said that every commercial plane is struck by lightning at least once a year, I believe it’s been over 40 years since a crash has been attributed to a lightning strike. The fuselage of a plane will conduct electricity and allow it to trasmit from the strike and generally out the tail.

Lightning first struck Flight 62, which was preparing to land in Sitka as it made its morning run through the region, Zaninovich said. The aircraft, carrying 98 passengers, landed normally and taxied to a gate, she said.

Alaska Airlines flew up a replacement jet from Seattle, and some travelers experienced a five-hour delay.

…The second plane to experience a lightning strike was Flight 66, flying from Anchorage to Cordova. It landed in Cordova, and the remaining legs of its daily run were canceled, Zaninovich said.

The first plane would have been taken out of service around 11 a.m. local time and the second around 4 p.m. local time.

There’s some pretty incredible video of a Wow Air Airbus A330-300 flying through a lightning storm enroute from Iceland to Paris:

Last year there was a ‘striking’ incident on a Reykjavik to Denver Icelandair flight that caused a gaping hole in the plane’s nose — the aircraft flew 8 hours and the damage wasn’t even noticed until arrival.

Meanwhile earlier this year a China Southern Boeing 737-800 was struck by lightning minutes after passengers had disembarked the aircraft. That one was a bit scarier, at least watching the video.

(HT: Ken A.)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. The impressive thing about this story is that it happened in Alaska in December. The Gulf of Alaska is not a place where you expect to encounter a thunderstorm any time of the year.

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