Pilot Comes Into The Cabin, Sees Wing Damage Leading To Emergency Landing For United Flight

United Airlines flight 354 from San Francisco to Boston was forced to make an unscheduled landing in Denver on Monday due to damage observed on the aircraft’s wing.

While the aircraft was cruising at 31,000 feet, passengers reported seeing damage to the slats on the right wing. Slats are adjustable panels situated on the wing’s leading edge, crucial for controlling the aircraft’s lift during takeoff and landing phases. It’s not clear what caused parts of the slat to be torn away.

Crew reported a potential flap issue and landed safely on runway 16R. A replacement Boeing 757-200 was used to complete the journey to Boston, where passengers arrived about three and a half hours late.

According to one customer on board, there was a violent vibration. A pilot came out to inspect the cabin. Then an announcement was made of minor damage to the aircraft’s right wing, necessitating the diversion.

Adding to the aircraft’s troubled week, it had just diverted four days prior. On February 15, 2024, while operating as flight UA 1413 from Boston to San Francisco, the aircraft landed in Boise where it was grounded for two days before being ferried back to San Francisco on Saturday.

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 InsideFlyer.com, 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. This is a 30 year old plane, delivered new to Continental in 1994. The fiasco that is Boeing is causing airlines to fly older planes far longer, though probably not past their cycle limits.

  2. Boeing nore Airbus is causing this issue, but DL and UA are cheap and squeezing every dollar out of these wrecks. Funny that Kirby is doing what AA did 10 years ago and replacing the entire fleet. AA now has a fleet replacement strategy going forward. UA will after they file bankruptcy from all the planes on order and DL will look to bring back the DC-9 since they are cheep to aquire.

  3. Right where it is broken at the outboard edge of the damage doesn’t it say “No Step”
    I guess someone didn’t follow directions.

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