- United flight 5277 was supposed to be operated by a 50 seat CR2 regional jet.
- However United Express carrier SkyWest made an aircraft swap for a larger 76 seat Embraer ERJ-175
The flight took off from O’Hare and made it about halfway when the pilot announced they’d be turning around returning to Chicago because the plane was too large.
More than halfway into the flight – Fallon figures they got to the Kentucky border from a map of the flight route a friend sent – when the pilot told passengers he had some bad news.
“We’re going to turn and and go back to O’Hare,” Fallon said, recalling the gist of the pilot’s message.
There was a collective grumble.
Fallon and passenger Jill Lohsen recall the pilot saying the plane, a 76-seat Embraer 175, was “too large” to land in Chattanooga.
Of course a 76 seat regional jet isn’t too large for Chattanooga. It’s just too large for the ground equipment United has in Chattanooga.
United CR7s and EMB-175s: Too Large for An Airport That Supports Routine Mainline Traffic
Once back at O’Hare passengers were given “Cheez-Its, pretzels and water” and placed on a new aircraft. Everyone received a refund of “the Chicago-Chattanooga leg of passengers’ flights” and a $300 travel voucher.