United Flight Makes Emergency Landing at EWR After ‘Compression Issue’

Oct 23, 2018

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

A United Airlines flight departing New York’s LaGuardia Airport (LGA) on Tuesday was forced to divert to Newark (EWR) after a mechanical problem with the aircraft came about shortly after takeoff.

Officials told WABC that UA Flight 657 “radioed about a compression issue” just after the Boeing 737-800 took off for Houston (IAH) from LGA.

UA 657's flight path from Flight Radar 24
UA 657’s flight path from FlightRadar24.

United isn’t saying what the exact problem was, but a “compression issue” could mean a compressor stall in the engine. A compressor stall occurs when there’s an airflow disruption into the engine compressor. Air flow can be interrupted by a foreign object, like a bird, broken compressor or turbine blades, engine deterioration, extreme pitch or yaw movements or throttle movements, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

Another United flight heading from San Francisco (SFO) to Sydney (SYD) in July also suffered a suspected compressor stall when one engine on the Boeing 787-9 caught fire shortly after takeoff. Passengers on board that flight, UA Flight 863, reported hearing two loud noises and seeing two large sparks about 30 minutes after the aircraft took off from SFO.

Similarly, passengers on board Tuesday’s United flight reported on aviation forum that they heard two loud bangs when the incident began. One passenger wrote: “Anyone else on that flight? 2 loud BANGS when we took off. Right engine partial failure sounds like. We diverted to EWR. Don’t scare easily but that was scary.”

The plane landed safely at Newark, and there were no injuries.

“United flight 657 traveling from LaGuardia to Houston diverted to Newark Liberty International Airport due to a mechanical issue,” the airline told TPG in an emailed statement.  “The flight landed without incident and passengers departed for Houston on a different aircraft. We apologize to our passengers for the inconvenience.”

TPG’s Emily McNutt experienced a compressor stall on a Japan Airlines flight last year. From her window seat, she said “flames were streaming in front of my face,” when the surge occurred. “Every two to three seconds, the engine on my side would spew out flames, accompanied by a sound that echoed like a loud blast and a jolting motion,” she wrote.

Featured image by Ryan Patterson/The Points Guy.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X points on dining and 2x points on travel, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
Regular APR
16.24% - 23.24% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.