United Airlines flight UA 713, bound for Chicago, was canceled on November 25 after detecting a mechanical issue with the aircraft. The Boeing 787-9 operating the Delhi-Chicago route was carrying 211 people on board when the incident occurred. One hundred ninety-eight passengers were left stranded at Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL) after their early-hour flight failed to take off that day.
Technical issue with Boeing 787 Dreamliner
UA 713, a daily passenger flight to Chicago, was scheduled to take off from Delhi at 1:10 am on November 25. The deployed aircraft, i.e., Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, registered as N36962, was carrying 198 passengers and 14 crew members onboard. As scheduled, the flight returned from the bay at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport and departed from the stand. But while taxiing to the runway for takeoff, the aircraft encountered a significant mechanical issue. Soon after the pilots detected the issue, they announced it to the passengers and returned the aircraft to the parking bay again.
Flight crew hours exceeded
The passengers onboard kept waiting for some time as the carrier started investigating the technical snag. At 01:55 am, United Airlines released a notice stating that flight 713 was canceled following a mechanical issue and crew members’ flight duty time limit (FDTL).
“Our team at Delhi International Airport assisted customers of United Airlines 713 (Delhi-Chicago O’ Hare) on Friday, which was canceled following a technical issue and our crew subsequently exceeding their duty hours. The aircraft is scheduled to depart Delhi for Chicago O’Hare at 3:15 am on Saturday (November 26, IST)”, the airline spokesperson stated.
As per regulations, pilots can’t fly the aircraft after clocking in the allocated flight hours. The regulation requires that an operator and crew members adhere to ‘max crew duty’ time to prevent the stress caused by lack of sleep and ensure that aircrew exhaustion doesn’t affect flight safety. The airline crew timing incident is nothing new to aviation. A TUI plane from Greece to Scotland flew without passengers as the captain exceeded his legal limit on working hours in July 2022
United Airlines UA713 flight was eventually declared Aircraft on Ground (AOG), but passengers were left stranded. Since the aircraft was supposed to depart early, passengers accused airline staff of failing to provide timely accommodations. Some passengers complained about not getting real-time information about the next flight and being left to arrange accommodation independently. The Chicago-based carrier will have to reimburse passengers for accommodation arrangements at a later date.
United Airlines’ Chicago-Delhi service
United Airlines offers a daily long-haul service between India’s capital and Chicago, competing against Air India on a given route. Flight UA 712departs Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) at 6: 10 pm every day and completes 15 hours 45-minute journey before arriving in Delhi at 9: 25 pm the next day. The twinjet Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner operates the ORD-DEL route and uses terminal 1 and terminal 3 of the Chicago Airport and Delhi Airport, respectively.
Similarly, the return flight UA713 operates the nonstop, overnight DEL-ORD service daily. It’s a 17-hour, 20-minute journey, departing Delhi at 1:10 am and arriving in Chicago at 7:00 am.
UA’s modern, eco-friendly Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner flying between Chicago O’ Hare and Delhi has 257 passenger seats. It has a 4-class seating configuration, accommodating 48 passengers in United Polaris Business, 21 in Premium Plus, 39 in Economy (B), and 149 in United Economy (U).
The other airline offering international long-haul service on the DEL-ORD route is Air India, India’s flag carrier. The Tata Sons-owned flagship airline deploys Boeing 777-300ER to connect technological and leisure hotspots of two nations daily. AI127 covers the ORD-DEL service, whereas AI126 operates the return journey with 14 hours and 20 minutes flight duration.
United Airlines’ other services to India
United Airlines, the major US carrier, has a flourishing presence in Indian markets with daily flights to Delhi and Mumbai. Delhi Airport receives UA’s regular flights from Chicago O’Hare and Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR). Likewise, Mumbai’s Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (BOM) handles United’s nonstop passenger flights from Newark.
United Airlines’ much-awaited San Francisco-Bangalore flight service is set to kick off in October 2023. Initially slated to take off 14 months ago, this ultra-long-haul service has been pushed back to next October. Once operational, the flight will be instrumental in catering to premium travelers between two tech hubs.