Passengers reported a ‘whistling sound’ from door plug on prior flight of Alaska Airlines 737-9 MAX

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Photo credit: Social media user

More passengers have joined a lawsuit against Alaska Airlines over a midair door plug blowout of a Boeing 737-9 MAX last month. Attorney for the plaintiffs Mark Lindquist say that passengers from a previous flight reported hearing “a whistling sound” from the “vicinity” of the door plug.

But no known further action was taken after the pilot checked cockpit instruments, “which purportedly read normal,” Lindquist said in a statement, in which he cited that the National Transportation Safety Board preliminary report found the cockpit door was designed to blow out in a depressurization situation. Pilots and crew were not informed of the design feature, which created “shock, noise, and communication difficulties” that contributed to strained communication between the flight crew and passengers, which intensified confusion and stress..

“Boeing is still cutting corners on quality,” Lindquist said in his statement. “The company is cutting so many corners, they’re going in circles.” 

The NTSB preliminary report found Boeing delivered the plane to Alaska Airlines with four retaining bolts missing, which resulted in the eventual door plug blowout.

“This plane was a ticking bomb,” Lindquist said. “A blowout could have happened at a cruising altitude where it would have been catastrophic.” 

14 COMMENTS

  1. It will probably eventually come out the plug was removed by Alaska, or a contractor, and the bolts not reinstalled. I find it a little illogical that an aircraft could go through 143 tankoff and landings with the offending bolts missing.

  2. Just flew a 737Max9 and virtually every passenger on the flight was looking for the door plug location. Flight crew would not disclose that information to us.

  3. “A blowout could have happened at a cruising altitude where it would have been catastrophic.” If such a catastrophe had occurred over the Pacific Ocean, then this aircraft might now be resting in pieces somewhere, under thousands of feet of water. The cause of the loss would never be known.

    Boeing, Alaska Airlines, and a plane load of passengers and crew members seem to have been spared the high altitude catastrophe by luck or by the mercy of God. I have never been certain of how often God is sovereign in the minute affairs of mankind, but He deserves our praise for all blessings, big and small. Alaska Airlines may be mildly congratulated for its decision to keep this 737 flying over land.

    • Pressure at 16,000′ is 54% that of sea level. Pressure at cruising altitude of say 33,000′ is half of that. Whether the difference is enough to destroy the fuselage is anyone’s guess. The higher you are, the more uncomfortable the ride home is going to be.

      I would remind you of the Aloha Air cabin blowout Apr 1988. Took place at 24,000′ cruising altitude. A portion of the top half of the fuselage 18′ long separated from the aircraft. It was recovered successfully, though it was a cold ride down. 737s used to be tough birds. Might still be. Cheers –

      • The Aloha Air incident was remarkable for the B-737 NOT having disintegrated at 22,000 feet from damage to the horizontal and/or the vertical stabilizers. The 737 might be ‘tough,’ but several tough passenger planes have disintegrated in flight, with the loss of all lives, from an explosive decompression caused by structural failure.

        Far Eastern Air Transport Flight 103, 1981 (B-737)
        Turkish Airlines Flight 981, 1974 (DC-10)
        Japan Air Lines Flight 123, 1985 (B-747)
        China Airlines Flight 611, 2002 (B-747)

        The sum of human lives lost in just these four explosive decompression incidents is 1,201, which number we think of as a “statistic.’ The flight attendant who was swept out of Aloha Airlines Flight 243 was named Clarabelle “C.B.” Lansing, and her loss is truly a tragedy.

  4. A “whisking” sound reported from previous flights and a “pressurization” issue? Yet, the focus is on DEI, all of which doesn’t build a lot of confidence. Maybe(?), flying Delta is the smarter move, from here on out??? Maybe(?), that stock price continues southward??? The real question(s), what exactly is AK Air doing to rectify the safety culture and reputational issue as they continue to ignore signs of malfunction???

    • They are hiring more women, atheists, people of color, disabled and gay people as we speak.
      Problem solved.
      Remember when they caved in to the Godless and took the “prayer cards” off the fold out trays?
      Taking God off the planes should have solved all there problems; I don’t understand what went wrong.

  5. I fly a lot, and one of the things I really really need is total competency in all things having to do with the aircraft. AK Air is off my list of airlines, But now I see Delta is doing much the same DEI crap. In fact, most of the airlines are. So what’s a boy to do? It’s way to far to walk, and Canada is such a poop hole I don’t even want to drive through it.
    SIGH!

  6. Glad to hear that Alaska Airlines is being called out to be held accountable for refusing to keep up on proper, thorough maintenance and repairs.

  7. This attorney may do more to disclose the cause of this incident than the authorities who are partially responsible. Whistling of seals as an aircraft is beginning to pressurize may be common in a dated piece of equipment, but on a new aircraft is cause for alarm, and should have been investigated thoroughly. Regardless of who was responsible for the missing bolts, good maintenance practices should have led to their discovery long before this incident. Many factors are involved, even the crew members themselves who accepted the aircraft for flight knowing the history. Someone with a more thorough knowledge should have become involved before it became an incident. The level of complacency and lack of experience coupled with lack of a controlling agency to insure safety has been an ongoing problem, and unfortunately it takes something like this to bring it to light. Let’s hope that the lesson is learned once the finger pointing stage is over. It points at a breakdown of the entire safety system, not just one part of it.

  8. The ONLY RIGHT thing to KNOW, is to MAKE SURE you’re READY to meet God, the ONLY person that can keep you in HIS arms during these types of situations.(and sanity)

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