Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 Smashes Wing During Turbulent, Vomit-Inducing Landing Attempt

"Every other row had used barf bags," one passenger told the media. 

Southwest Boeing 737 wing scrap vomit sick wind
AP Photo/Chris O'Meara

If at first you don't succeed, as the saying goes, try, try again...and if that still doesn't work, divert to another airport. At least, that seems to be the version of the axiom followed by the pilots of a commercial airliner earlier this week: On Monday, a Boeing 737 flown by Southwest Airlines was forced to abort its landing at Connecticut's Bradley International Airport after three failed attempts to land in high winds, including one that caused the aircraft's wing to slap against the runway.

According to Flight Aware's copy of the FAA data, Southwest Airlines Flight 2169 took off from Orlando International Airport at 4:20pm on February 25th with the intention of landing at the Hartford-area airport at 7:16pm. Unfortunately, that arrival time meant the twin-engine Boeing reached Bradley in the midst of a windstorm slapping the Northeast silly. Winds at the time were blowing consistently at around 30 miles per hour, according to Weather Underground data, with gusts reaching around 50 miles per hour. That was strong enough to force the pilots to break off their landing attempts three separate times, with the aircraft's right wing scraping the ground on one attempt, according to Southwest. 

The Boeing 737-700 finally touched down around 7:30pm—not at Bradley, but at Warwick, Rhode Island's T. F. Green Airport, 67 miles to the southeast.

Not surprisingly, the bouncy, wind-blown ride apparently caused quite a few of the 146 passengers to relocate the contents of their stomachs outside of their bodies. 

“With each fail they would go back up, circle and then descend again to try and land,” passenger Christine Orlovsky-Lascano of Trumbull, CT, who was traveling with her three sons and mother, told The Orlando Sentinel. “So, with each descent that we experienced, there was horrible turbulence that was making a good portion of the people on the plane vomit.”

"My 3-year-old vomited twice," Orlovsky-Lascano said. "My 10-year-old asked if 'What happened to planes on 9/11 was going to happen to this plane.'”

"Safe to say," she said, "as we exited the plane, every other row had used barf bags.”

No one was injured during the landing attempts, Southwest said in a statement. 

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the landing, according to the Sentinel. The airline said it would also look into the incident, as well as offer customers on the flight compensation in the form of both refunds and "goodwill flight vouchers" for future trips on the airline. That said, given the traumatic circumstance being trapped on a bucking aircraft filled with the smell of vomit as it repeatedly slaps the ground but never quite lands, we at The Drive wouldn't be surprised if some fliers might prefer to take Amtrak next time instead.