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On Thursday evening a Frontier Airbus A320 was pushing back from its gate at Phoenix Sky Harbor airport when it was struck by a Southwest aircraft. Passengers reported hearing a loud noise before the aircraft quickly stopped. It was immediately clear what had happened: the wings of the two planes had clipped, and both were visibly mangled. Fortunately, no passengers or crew were injured.

Frontier wing damage - Brit Ullrich

Photo credit with permission: Brit Ullrich

Obviously, passengers on the flights had to be eventually re-boarded onto other aircraft. Oddly enough, both planes were bound for Denver. Passengers on Southwest flight 4182 didn’t make it to DIA until 12:30 a.m. The 163 passengers on Frontier flight 756 were even worse off. They didn’t arrive in the Mile High City until 4:30 a.m. Friday morning.

The major Frontier delay again hits the operational difficulties the budget carrier faces (SEE: Will Frontier’s planned changes help avoid meltdowns like December’s?). The 6.5 hour delay in arrival time clearly shows that another aircraft and/or crew for the flight wasn’t readily available.

Passengers made the best of things in spite of the incident and delay. Some reported that the the situation “brought them together”. I had a similar experience on my recent flight to Korea that was diverted (SEE: 2 people getting engaged and 1 going into labor on my crazy flight). In my own incident the first-class passengers went from keeping completely to themselves to laughing together and making the best of the situation.

According to Denver CBS, the National Transportation Safety Board will not be investigating the incident at Sky Harbor. However, the FAA will be investigating what exactly caused the two planes to clip.

Featured image courtesy of Brit Ullrich. 

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