Alaska Airlines jet door plug fittings fractured, bolts possibly 'weren't there at all,' NTSB says

Here's a look at SFO's flight delays and cancellations as a result from Friday's incident

ByLena Howland KGO logo
Tuesday, January 9, 2024
Alaska Airlines jet door plug fittings fractured, NTSB says
For the fourth day, San Francisco International Airport is experiencing serious cancellations and delays with more than 50 cancelled flights.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- For the fourth day in a row, San Francisco International Airport is experiencing serious cancellations and delays, with more than 50 cancelled flights and counting on Tuesday.

Passenger after passenger waited in line Tuesday morning, seeking help for cancelled or delayed flights impacted by the grounding of more than 170 Boeing 737 MAX 9 jets.

The Boeing planes are grounded pending inspections after a mid-air blowout on an Alaska Airlines flight to Southern California.

"I wasn't so worried about another plug blowing off, as I was about the flight just being cancelled, that seemed to be the more cogent issue," Leslie, an Austin resident said.

RELATED: Missing door plug that blew off Alaska Airlines flight found in Portland backyard

A Portland teacher found the missing door plug from the Alaska Airlines flight in his backyard.

Leslie and her husband Neal say as soon as they saw they'd be boarding a 737 MAX 9 plane, they changed their flight to avoid any travel hassles.

The only problem was having to show up to the airport 12 hours earlier.

"We had a direct flight to Austin but now we're going to Seattle, sit around there for a couple hours and then fly to Austin," Neal, an Austin resident said. "It's making the trip at least four hours longer. That's a small price to pay compared to being stuck."

RELATED: United Airlines found loose bolts during preliminary Boeing 737-9 fleet inspections, company says

To add insult to injury, Gary Coleman was notified of his cancelled flight in the middle of the College Football Playoff National Championship, just as his team was losing.

"I was a little upset last night because it happened right during the game so we were losing the game and then they cancelled the flight, but within about a half hour, they rescheduled it," Coleman said. "I didn't need the extra stress but its all good now."

United Airlines crews found loose bolts during preliminary inspections of its 737 max 9 fleet and Alaska Airlines says its inspectors also discovered "some loose hardware."

RELATED: First a boom, then a rush of air: Here's what happened inside that Alaska Airlines flight

On ABC Tuesday morning, NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy revealed new information about the plane involved in Friday's incident.

"In this situation, the fittings at the top of the door plug fractured," Homendy said. "We don't know if the bolts were loose. We don't know if bolts were in there fractured or possibly the bolts weren't there at all."

She says that's something that will be determined back in their laboratory.

"When these events occur, significant events occur, we have to figure out what happened here. Because we want to prevent it from happening again," she said.

RELATED: Federal officials order grounding of some Boeing 737 Max 9 jetliners after plane suffers a blowout

Alaska Airlines grounded all of its Boeing 737-9 aircraft after a window blew during a flight, forcing an emergency landing in Portland, Oregon.

Alaska Airlines said their crews have prepared each aircraft to be immediately ready for the required inspection when instructions are finalized.

Official inspections are expected to take about eight hours per plane.

Now Streaming 24/7 Click Here

If you're on the ABC7 News app, click here to watch live