In yet another alarming incident for United Airlines, a Boeing 757-200 lost a main landing gear wheel during takeoff from Los Angeles on Monday. The aircraft, en route to Denver, landed safely, but the event adds to a growing list of safety concerns that have prompted federal oversight.

United Flight 1001 took off from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) at approximately 7:15 a.m. and landed in Denver shortly after 10 a.m. The airline confirmed that none of the 174 passengers and crew members were injured. "The wheel has been recovered in Los Angeles, and we are investigating what caused this event," United Airlines said in a statement. Additional details about the incident remain sparse.

This is not the first time United has faced such issues. In March, another United flight lost a wheel after takeoff, which subsequently landed in an airport parking lot, damaging several cars. This series of incidents has triggered a federal safety review by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), placing United Airlines under increased scrutiny.

The FAA's spokesperson, Ian Gregor, noted that the agency is aware of Monday's incident and will conduct a thorough investigation. This follows a pattern of concerns that have plagued the airline throughout the year, including engine fires, stuck rudder pedals, and other mechanical failures.

David Evans, an FAA-certificated airline transport pilot and flight instructor, commented on the rarity of such incidents. "From time to time, this sort of thing does happen but it's usually uneventful at the end of the day," Evans said. Despite the reassurances, the frequency of these issues at United is troubling both for regulators and passengers.

Here is a timeline of United Airlines' reported incidents in 2023 and 2024:

  • July 8: A Boeing 757-200 loses a wheel on takeoff but lands safely in Denver.
  • March 18: United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby acknowledges the airline's safety issues in a letter to customers.
  • March 15: A missing panel is discovered on a Boeing 737-800.
  • March 8: A Boeing 737 Max 8 tilts and rolls onto the grass, causing an evacuation.
  • March 7: A Boeing 777-200 loses a tire after takeoff, damaging parked cars.
  • March 4: An engine fire mid-flight prompts an emergency landing.
  • February 21: A "security issue" onboard prompts an emergency landing.
  • February 19: A Boeing 757-200 is diverted due to a damaged wing.
  • February 6: A Boeing 737 Max 8 experiences stuck rudder pedals during landing.

In a March letter to customers, United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby addressed the mounting safety concerns. "Unfortunately, in the past few weeks, our airline has experienced a number of incidents that are reminders of the importance of safety," Kirby wrote. He emphasized that while these incidents were unrelated, they had sharpened the airline's focus on safety.

Kirby also mentioned that the airline is reviewing each case to understand the underlying causes and is using these insights to enhance safety training and procedures. "We are committed to making the necessary changes to ensure the safety of our passengers and crew," he added.

Despite the reassurances from United's leadership, the frequency of these incidents has raised questions about the airline's operational practices and maintenance protocols. The FAA's continued oversight aims to ensure that United adheres to the highest safety standards.

In addition to addressing mechanical issues, United has also been working to improve its overall customer experience amidst rising operational challenges. The airline has acknowledged that customers are seeking more value, especially as inflation drives up the cost of air travel. In response, United has introduced various promotions and deals to offer more affordable options.