UAL 857 KSFO - ZSPD Diverted


This is interesting: … /KSFO/ZSPD

United’s San Francisco-Shanghai service was diverted back to KSFO on Sunday night. Looks like they turned around right at the northern end of Washington state. United’s website says the flight is rescheduled to leave KSFO at 9:30 am Monday. Mechanical problem?


I would imagine (hope) any flight with a mechanical problem wouldn’t return 3 states away, but would divert to the nearest sizeable field… This was a scheduled flight with pax on board??

Interested to know…


No kidding… lets turn around in view of the factory and then fly a couple hours back to where we started.


It would be understandable to go back, since SFO is a UA hub, although I agree that Boeing field should have a “few” able-minded 747 mechanics around. How long would it take a 744 to dump enough fuel to reach landing weight? Maybe it would take long enough to justify flying back down the coast…?


Besides being a hub, SFO is a major maintenance center for UAL. It would make more sense to perform its own maintenance rather than going to the dealer for maintenance. You know dealers always charge an arm and a leg (wing and a landing gear?) for maintenance.


Passenger accomodations?


I am wondering whether it was something security-related. If you look at the flight track, they turned around just before crossing into Canadian airspace, just at the very tip of Washington State before reaching Canada’s Victoria Island. That may have just been a coincidence, though.

If it was a mechanical issue, then returning to KSFO makes sense, as I believe UAL does have a substantial maintenance department there.

Could it even land at KBFI (Boeing Field)? Their longest runway, 13L/31R is about 9,000’, which doesn’t seem like it’s enough for a fully-loaded 747.


According to Airline Pilot Central United has a hub in KSEA. So why would they not divert to KSEA. Still fuel and mechanical reasons?


They have a DOMICILE in SEA, not a hub. A domicile is where pilots and flight attendants are based. UAL has domestic hubs in SFO, LAX, DEN, ORD, and IAD.