Passengers on a United Airlines 777-300ER experienced a 14-hour flight to nowhere after a decision was made to return to San Francisco after a series of violent attacks led to a declaration of war in Israel.
A 14-Hour United Airlines Flight To Nowhere After War Breaks Out in Israel
Israel is at war after a surprise Sabbath attack by terrorists from the Gaza Strip that included the launch of over 5,000 rockets as well as land and sea incursions. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has mobilized reserves and vowed a swift and decisive response.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu:
"Citizens of Israel,
We are at war, not in an operation or in rounds, but at war. This morning, Hamas launched a murderous surprise attack against the State of Israel and its citizens. We have been in this since the early morning hours. pic.twitter.com/C7YQUviItR
— Prime Minister of Israel (@IsraeliPM) October 7, 2023
Israeli fighter jets are now striking targets in Gaza and troops are fighting on land in border towns. Over 200 people have been reported dead (40 Israelis and now 200 Palestinians thus far in Israel’s response) and thousands injured.
Meanwhile, most Israeli airports have closed, though Ben Gurion International (TLV) in Tel Aviv remains open. Even so, some airlines have canceled or delayed flights.
Perhaps most poignantly, United Airlines flight UA954 took off on Friday from San Francisco (SFO), operated by a 777-300ER. As it neared Greenland, it turned around and is currently enroute back to SFO, due to land at 10:34 am local time and representing a 14-hour flight to nowhere.
United Airlines has said the flight wasn’t canceled due to an “unexpected disruption:”
Your flight is canceled because of an unexpected disruption beyond United’s control. We’re sorry for the inconvenience.
However, United’s service from Washington (IAD) and Newark (EWR) did not divert. Delta Air Lines’ service from New York (JFK) was delayed, but will land in Tel Aviv later today. American Airlines’ JFK flight is expected to arrive on time.
Israel is at war again after a surprise attack from Hamas. With thousands of rockets in the air, some flights are being canceled or diverted into Tel Aviv. Perhaps most notably, passengers on UA954 experienced a 14-hour flight to nowhere. The 777-300ER is currently en route back to San Francisco and will land later this morning.
image: Bill Abbott / Flickr