United’s San Francisco – Sydney flight on New Year’s Eve encountered problems. And once it did, it just couldn’t catch a break.
- Crew reported smoke in the cockpit when the flight was 600 nautical miles south of Kona, Hawaii. So they decided to divert.
- The smoke and fumes dissipated and they decided to divert to Honolulu instead.
A passenger reported that obviously there was some fire, quite obviously there was smoke in the cockpit. The inflight entertainment system and cabin lights went out, an announcement indicated they were diverting to Kona. The fire apparently was put out, the passengers in the forward cabin were distributed to the aft cabin with cabin crew telling them the seats in the forward cabin could no longer be put upright for landing. Some time later the crew advised that they were now diverting to Honolulu.
- Just prior to touchdown in Honolulu the Boeing 777 suffered a bird strike
It was New Year’s Day at this point. The next day the pilot refused the aircraft for continuing on to Sydney. So United sent replacement aircraft.
Two Boeing 777-200s registrations N206UA and N221UA have been dispatched to Honolulu to continue the flight as flights UA-2102 and UA-2103. UA-2102 is estimated to reach Sydney with a delay of 36.5 hours, UA-2103 is estimated to arrive in Sydney with a delay of 46 hours.
The occurrence aircraft is still on the ground in Honolulu 31 hours after landing (standing Jan 2nd 2016 20:40z).
If nothing else, the passengers had a memorable New Year’s Eve. And they weren’t going to spend New Year’s Day in Sydney anyway, since the December 31 late night departure was originally scheduled to arrive the morning of January 2 anyway…!