FAA Investigates United Airlines After Passengers Enter Cockpit During Flight

By Ivan PetrenkoApr 23, 2024 05:32 AMNews
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Close-up shot of a United Airlines airplane showing the word 'UNITED' on the side in black and white
Close-up shot of a United Airlines airplane showing the word 'UNITED' on the side in black and white. Source: unsplash

United Airlines is under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) following a serious security breach during a flight from Denver to Toronto on April 10. The incident involved passengers being allowed into the cockpit at cruise altitude, in violation of strict anti-terror regulations.

The breach came to light after Hensley Meulens, the hitting coach for the Colorado Rockies baseball team, posted a video on his Instagram showing himself sitting in the Captain’s seat, pretending to land the plane. A second passenger also filmed the cockpit, with the door open, while a third person briefly entered the flight deck. During this time, the Captain was not present.

In the now-deleted video, Meulens expressed his enjoyment of the experience, thanking the United charter flight's crew for the opportunity. Despite the charter nature of the flight, United Airlines' policy and FAA regulations strictly prohibit passengers from entering the cockpit during flight, and the incident is being taken seriously by the airline.

United Airlines promptly reported the incident to the FAA and removed the pilots from service while the investigation continues. A United spokesperson stated, "We're deeply disturbed by what we see in that video, which appears to show an unauthorized person in the flight deck at cruising altitude while the autopilot was engaged."

This security lapse adds to United's current challenges, as the airline is already facing an FAA investigation into a series of accidents and mishaps, leading to delays in launching new routes. Despite some commentators suggesting that the breach may not be as serious since it occurred on a private charter, FAA regulations apply to all flights, including charters. The outcome of the investigation will likely have significant repercussions for United Airlines, emphasizing the critical importance of adhering to aviation safety and security protocols.

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