Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 Slaps Another Southwest Jet’s Tail in Newark Taxiway Mishap
“Good game, buddy. Good game.”
Update, 3:58pm: This story has been updated with new information from Southwest Airlines.
To paraphrase the immortal wisdom of Kevin Smith, you never go tail to wing. A pair of Boeing 737 airliners run by Southwest Airlines whacked into each other while on the tarmac at Newark Liberty International Airport this weekend, with the wing of one of the Boeings grazing the rear end of a second Southwest-owned 737 that was parked at the gate.
According to reports from Newark Liberty International Airport and Southwest Airlines, the incident occurred around 7 o'clock on Saturday morning, when a Boeing 737 bound for Fort Lauderdale—Southwest Airlines Flight 6, to be precise—finished deicing and began making its way towards the runway. As it did, however, its left winglet came into contact with its sibling jetliner, Southwest Flight 3133 bound for Nashville, which was also being deiced at the time at EWR's Terminal A.
The first Boeing returned to the gate so the passengers and crew on board could get off while the damage was inspected, according to Simple Flying. The passengers of both flights were ultimately placed on another plane; the 140 Fort Lauderdale-bound flyers left New Jersey after a five-hour delay, while the 102 customers on the Nashville-bound plane were reseated on flights from both Newark and New York's LaGuardia Airport.
Twitter user Alex Diefenbach chronicled the love tap—and some of the subsequent cleanup—from his window seat, as well as from the terminal after his flight to Florida was sent back to the gate to de-board the passengers.
The official Newark Liberty Airport Twitter account also mentioned the incident, adding that no one was injured during the early-morning mishap.
Bizarrely enough, the Newark incident was the second wing-scrape in an unlucky week for a Southwest-flown 737. Last Monday, a Boeing 737-700 out of Orlando tried and failed three separate times to land at Connecticut's Bradley International Airport during a windstorm, scraping its wing on the ground during one of the attempts. No one was injured in that incident either, though one passenger said "every other row had used barf bags" by the time the aircraft finally landed at an airfield in Rhode Island.
Weather may have also played a role in the Boeing-on-Boeing violence at Newark, as the New York area had been on the receiving end of a wintry mix the night before, leaving snow, ice, and slush in pockets and patches all over the ground—including the tarmac at Newark, as can be seen in some of the images above. Still, it's unclear for now why the one jet happened to tap its compatriot on the rear. For what it's worth, though, We at The Drive like to imagine the Boeing was just giving its teammate a camaraderie-building slap on the ass.