- United Airlines “briefly” grounded its Airbus A321neos because of a peculiar rule.
- It wanted an exemption from necessities flight crew have the ability to flip off “No Smoking” indicators.
- United acquired an exemption for Boeing jets in 2020, however ordered the A321neos a 12 months later.
United Airlines passengers confronted delays on Monday after 5 jets had been grounded because of a peculiar rule about “No Smoking” indicators, an airline spokesperson informed Business Insider.
Earlier within the day, United wrote to the Department of Transportation requesting its Airbus A321neo plane be exempted from a requirement that flight crew have the ability to flip the indicators on or off.
The rule exists despite the fact that smoking was banned on all US flights 24 years in the past.
In its letter, United mentioned 4 of the 5 Boeing fashions it operates are additionally outfitted with the indicators “hardwired” to remain illuminated always.
Those jets — the 737, 757, 767, and 777 — had been granted an exemption again in 2020 by the Federal Aviation Administration.
However, it appears like United forgot to get an exemption for the A321neo earlier than it entered service final December. The airline ordered 70 of the jets in 2021, and one other 60 final 12 months.
They use its up to date “United Next” inside, which can be being retrofitted on different single-aisle jets.
There’s positively one thing occurring with United’s A321neo fleet proper now. Only two are within the air and all later scheduled A321neo flights for at present are swapped to 737 and A319/320 because of some type of “operational inspection.” https://t.co/PJ9i1QRzn4 pic.twitter.com/nQU7I4e1WK
— Jason Rabinowitz (@AirlineFlyer) February 12, 2024
“We are removing our five Airbus A321neo aircraft from service while we seek FAA approval for the ‘No Smoking’ sign to remain automatically illuminated rather than operated from the cockpit,” United mentioned in a press release to BI.
No flights had been canceled as United managed to exchange the A321neos with different plane varieties.
The FAA informed BI it was “working to quickly resolve a non-safety issue that United Airlines discovered with some of its Airbus A321neo aircraft.”
Around 4 hours after these statements, a United spokesperson mentioned the FAA gave it permission to maintain working the jets whereas it evaluates the exemption request.
There had been a “handful of delays” because the A321neos had been “briefly out of service,” the spokesperson added.