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Two Planes in Two Months Land at Completely Wrong Airports

January 13, 2014 at 10:23 AM | by | ()

The landing of the plane, a Boeing 737-700 carrying 124 passengers and five crew members, was uneventful. It was a normal flight, with a normal, non-emergency landing, with the only difference being the 737 landed at the wrong airport.

Originally set to fly Chicago-Midway to Branson, MO, and on to Dallas-Love Field, Southwest flight 4013 instead touched down on the 3700' runway at a tiny general aviation field, M. Graham Clark Downtown Airport (PLK), just outside Branson. While the crew expected the 7100' runway at Branson and a regular terminal to park and offload passengers, there was some hard braking and some tarmac wait time.

Thankfully, that was the extent of the discomfort for the 124 flyers and 5 crew, who were speedily bussed over to the correct airport to board another Southwest 737 the airline had rapidly dispatched for them.

The story can actually be seen, abridged, in the tweets of passenger Scott Schieffer (@scottdallastx):

Since this incident was a result of crew confusion and not airline error, there's no cause to get angry with any one party. Scott shared the main concern: "We have all deplaned from @SouthwestAir 4013, and the mood is somber now that we realized we were 40 feet from the edge of a cliff."

Alas, even Boeing can make a similar mistake. On November 20, one of the airplane manufacturer's massive Dreamlifter planes mistakenly landed at Colonel James Jabara Airport in the Wichita, Kansas area. The flight, which departed from New York JFK, was supposed to fly to McConnell Air Force Base, but instead landed about nine miles away at the tiny general aviation airport. It departed the next day without incident, even though many doubted that the plane—which is so large because it is designed to transport airplane parts—could take off on a short runway.

The fears were the same for this Southwest 737. However, it's set to depart M. Graham Clark Downtown Airport later today, empty of passengers, and will return to regular service.

Perhaps there's a good reason the Midwest is often deemed "Flyover Country"—it's simply got too many airports to make landing at one easy!

[Photos: Scott Schieffer (@scottdallastx)]

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