American Airlines flight returns to Omaha after flight control issues

Published: Dec. 4, 2017 at 10:31 AM CST
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An American Airlines flight turned around en route to Dallas and landed safely in Omaha after a light in the cockpit indicated a possible mechanical issue.

Passengers aboard the flight tell 6 News, the flight started off perfectly with no issues. It wasn't until they felt the tail of the plane moving around that they knew something wasn't right.

“I fly quite a bit, and once we got airborne, I noticed the tail going back and forth, I thought, ‘Well, that’s unusual.’ I’ve never had that happen before," passenger Rodney Mack said.

Flight 2209 took off at 7:32 a.m. but was already back on the ground at Eppley Airport by 7:54 a.m. There were 109 passengers and 5 crew members on board.

“It was pretty pronounced enough that sitting in the back, even I started feeling a little oozy from the motion. I hoped maybe it would settle down, but it didn’t," passenger Mark Oberg said.

Passengers said they were never informed of what was going on, but they knew it was likely because the cabin crews were busy making sure everyone was safe.

Oberg said once the crew knew they'd be returning back to Omaha, flight attendants made their rounds.

"When the decision was made that we were going back to Omaha, that was when the flight attendant came down the aisle and told everybody to make sure that their stuff was stowed away, leave everything where it is, don’t take it with you, and asked any of us that were in the exit rows to be prepared to assist if necessary," Oberg said.

Passengers told 6 News the cabin was very calm all around, even among passengers.

“You can tell there’s distress among other passengers, but it’s out of your control. You just kind of sit there, put your headphones on and keep on watching whatever, Stranger Things on Netflix," passenger Jay Dealy said.

Though the experience was scary for some, it won't deter others from travelling in the future.

“Anything with mechanics, you’re going to have some kind of issue. The pilot did the right thing. He made the choice to turn around, and everybody made it back safe," passenger Daron Roag said.

Mack, who flies regularly, said the experience is one he won't forget, and he offers advice for fliers in the future.

"When they’re talking about reading the books and all that stuff, do not ignore the flight attendant’s instructions. Pay attention to that because you never know when you might need to do something," Mack said.

American Airlines said in a statement all passengers were booked onto other flights.

At this time the plane is being inspected by maintenance crews.

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