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United accidentally reinstates 9/11 flight numbers

Posted by Paul Makishima, Globe Assistant Sunday Editor  May 19, 2011 10:07 AM

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United Airlines apologized yesterday for reinstating flight numbers of planes that perished during the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The airline posted this on its Facebook page:

We discovered that flight numbers 93 and 175 were inadvertently reinstated in our future schedule. We regret the error, apologize and are taking immediate steps to remove the numbers from our system.

Flight 175 originated at Logan International Airport and was bound for Los Angeles International Airport before being hijacked and flown into the South Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City. Flight 93 took off from Newark, N.J., and crashed in a Pennsylvania field after an attempt by passengers to wrest control of the plane from terrorists.

Airline representatives told Reuters that the change was the result of oversight that came up as United works to align its operations with merger partner Continental Airlines. Apparently it appears that Continental uses the flight numbers, which came up in an automated system and the carriers failed to notice until it was brought to their attention.

In a statement, the airline pilots union criticized the airline, saying the that mistake "demonstrates a severe disconnect from right and wrong.” United MEC Chairman Captain Wendy Morse had this to say:

“Their insensitivity and unconscionable disrespect of these sacred flight numbers and their meaning to the employees of United Airlines and the families of those who lost their lives nearly 10 years ago are not only alarming, but reprehensible.
“How could these flight numbers have been ‘inadvertently reinstated’ as the company indicates? The pilots of United Airlines expect accountability of how these flight numbers were considered in the first place.”


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