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Aviation: 24 hours on a Boeing 777

On January 19, United Airlines UA179 set off from Newark Liberty International Airport near New York, bound for Hong Kong. As the flight progressed over Newfoundland and headed towards Greenland, a passenger became ill and a diversion to Goose Bay became necessary. After landing the passenger was taken for treatment but unfortunately the aircraft, Boeing 777-224/ER N76010, developed a technical fault that prevented it from taking off again. The passengers had to endure more than 14 hours on board the grounded aircraft, with food and drink beginning to run out, before a replacement took them back to Newark. United's customers eventually returned to where they had started their trip, about 24 hours after leaving.

The incident was reported by the media and caused debate on aviation forums and social media. Thankfully problems such as this are rather rare, so when they involve passengers having extended journeys in less than ideal conditions they tend to make headlines.

United Airlines Boeing 777-224/ER N76010 diverted to Goose Bay in Canada on January 19 while en route to Hong Kong. (Mark Harkin)

It's worth The Aviation Oracle reviewing the UA179 incident in a little more detail and - using a background that involved working with airline operations - explain why disruptions such as this sometimes take Time to resolve.

Flight UA179 - Newark to Hong Kong

UA179 is a 15 hour flight that usually routes up the eastern seaboard of the USA and Canada, then on over Greenland and the polar region before crossing Siberia and eastern China, and finally descending into Hong Kong.