Southwest Cannot Catch a Break

One engine on fire out of Cuba, and one pretty harrowing flight diverts to Myrtle Beach
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 6, 2023 12:25 PM CST
Another Not-Great Run for Southwest
A Southwest Airlines jet is seen as it arrives on Dec. 28 at Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix.   (AP Photo/Matt York, file)

Southwest is really having a sub-par time of it lately. The airline that can catch no breaks continued its run of catching no breaks with a pair of incidents in recent days that are keeping its public-relations department hopping:

  • To get the weekend off to a rocking start, a Southwest flight Friday landing in Raleigh, North Carolina, decided to ... not land in Raleigh. As CBS 17 reports, it came close (i.e., within 1,350 feet of touching down) when, per one passenger: "The plane starts shaking like crazy—then they decide to tell us 15 minutes later we are going to Myrtle Beach." Three passengers were said to have vomited, and one passed out, but the flight landed safely in Myrtle Beach airport, which was closed. Apparently, passengers made good use of a shuttered bar before an empty plane was sent overnight to fetch them. Southwest's explanation was that "weather issues caused the jet to experience a low-fuel situation," per the news outlet.

  • On Sunday, a Southwest flight en route to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, had to return to Havana, Cuba, on the grounds that, well, one of its engines was on fire. As WPLG reports, birds apparently hit the right engine shortly after takeoff, setting it on fire, filling the cabin with smoke, and making for a less-than-comfortable flight experience and an emergency landing. "I felt a jolt and heard what sounded like an explosion," says a passenger, who texted his wife that he loved her. "I looked out the window and I saw the engine on fire." Says Southwest: "We realize this occurrence was unusual and may have been unsettling ... Southwest is working with the local officials with regard to this event and remains steadfastly focused on the safety of our customers and crews."
(More Southwest Airlines stories.)

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