United 867 heavy (747-400) diverts to Seattle!!!


I was checking out Seattle’s (KSEA) radar page and I noticed a United 747-400 flying to SEA with the JAWBN9 arrivals. UAL867 (diverted flight) It’s been a long time since Seattle had a UA 747.

United 867 heavy departed LAX at 12:41 PST, and climbed to FL300. They stepped up to FL320 at 15:24 PST. The flight turned around at 16:04 PST at FL320. Nine minutes later, at 16:13 PST, they descended to FL310. At 16:53 PST, United 867 began their descent to KSEA from FL310. United 867 arrived at Seattle at 16:12 PST. The flight lasted 3 hours and 25 minutes.

Here is the planned route all the way to ANC.

Here are actual points of the flight every 30 minutes, the step up to FL320 (just north of Vancouver Island at 5126N 12855W), and the turn around point (at 5441N13329W). The flight flew north on the west side of Vancouver Island and south (the return) on the east side.

From United’s website…

Tracklog link - mduell


That’s a hell of a U-Turn. It looks like they were almost as close to PANC as they were to KSEA.


From the turn around point to Seattle, it’s 604 nm. From the TAP, it’s 652 nm to ANC. (According to fsroute.com)


Also, much better re-book options from SEA and cheaper to ferry a new 747 in to SEA if it was mechanical and they opt to do that.

Also, UA’s gate at ANC might not be able to handle 747’s so they would have to de-plane using airstairs in 8 F/-13 C weather that ANC is currently reporting (as of 0553Z)


‘Customer Service’ is probably a euphemism for a medical emergency that was not unduly urgent - since they were close to Juneau.

If it were an engine issue they’d come back to SEA since it is alot easier & cheaper to get parts to KSEA than Anchorage. In addition, the 747 could operate without pax on 3 engines to a UAL maintenance base from SEA alot cheaper than from ANC.

It was not either a pressurization problem or anything else like that given the flight remained at altitude.

The reason the plane went back to KSEA was that there was tail wind for one - look at the groundspeed jump as soon as the a/c turned around. It was on the ground an hour later- ANC would have been at least 90min.

That tells me in and of itself it was likely a medical emergency.


Do these HKG flights normally stop in ANC for fuel or do the routes just run that way? I know gobs of freighters stop there on the way back but wasn’t sure about pax runs.